I’ve been a bit quiet recently on the publishing front.
Sometimes these lulls are carefully planned: let’s put a bit of a gap between publications, allow time for teasers and for anticipation to build. Other times, it’s just how things go, and that’s been the case with me.
A series of events too dull to go into here intruded from real life to slow me down in the first part of this year, and then, after discussion with my publishers, I decided to change strategies.
In the past, I’ve pushed stories out as quickly as possible after they’ve been written and edited. This time, though, I decided to write a complete series before publishing, allowing me to go back and tweak the early parts in the light of what happens later on – stories always change as they’re written, after all. It also means that we’ll be publishing the entire serial close together.
So here we are: a new bad boy erotic romance thriller series. Part one, Trading Down, came out yesterday at the bargain price of 99 cents. Part two will be out next week, and the final part will be out a few days after that.
I really enjoyed writing this one, and I think it’s benefited hugely from the change in approach. Now it’s just a matter of waiting to see if readers agree…
Trading Down by PJ Adams
When a guy in a tux walks into a bar in the middle of nowhere, dripping wet from the storm, and pulls out a sodden roll of hundred dollar bills, you just know he’s going to be trouble.
Denny McGowan has lost his girl, his best friend and millions of dollars. All he has are the clothes on his back, the money in his pocket and an easy, wise-cracking charm that could melt the hardest of hearts. And two gangsters on his tail and out for revenge.
Cassandra Dane is a waitress in an out-of-town bar. Pierced and tattooed, she’s probably the last girl you’d expect to hook up with someone as hot and exciting as Denny – and she knows it. But things are not always what they seem and sometimes you’re just on the tail-end of a string of bad luck and worse decisions.
A night of intense seduction and passion on the dangerous journey from riches to rags and maybe back again.
Trading Down: the steamy new bad boy romance from the author of bestselling romantic thriller The Object of His Desire.
It was just a normal night until the stranger in the tux turned up at Pappy’s Lobster Bar.
Old Bub was in his corner, in his checkered shirt and suspenders that hitched his pants almost up into his armpits, and that woolen cap on the crown of his head like a kippah. He’d been cradling that Bud for at least an hour, just like any other night. Finn was by the jukebox, feeding it enough coins for a steady stream of Billy Joel.
Cassie stood behind the bar, her elbows leaning on its scuffed surface. She could recite the words from anything from 52nd Street thanks to Finn and his musical OCD.
Cassie was slim and honey blonde, a silver stud in her nose, half a dozen rings and studs lined up around each ear lobe, and an oriental script tattoo on one exposed shoulder. She’d worked at Pappy’s for two seasons now, and by anybody’s reckoning that was probably a season too long for anyone who had an alternative.
Over by the window a young couple in disposable plastic bibs wrestled with plates loaded with lobster. On a good day you could see across to Holbrook Island from where they sat but on a teeming night like tonight there was just a splattering of golfball-sized raindrops on the glass and the flickering lights of the trailer park, heading down to the bay.
That rain was something. It was good Fall Maine kind of rain: giant drops hurled horizontal by the wind coming in off the bay. That was the kind of wind that made the glass rattle in the window-frames like either wood or glass would give way at any moment, the kind of wind that made trees grow leaning over flat as if they wanted to hug the ground.
A week more and Pappy’s would be closed down for the winter. Not that the locals didn’t have a call for beer and good food in the winter months, but this was the kind of place where sensible folk put things by for winter rather than heading out. True, it was the kind of place where Finn and Old Bub would wrap up warm and trek through snow and ice to get here for the jukebox and beer, if the owner Lou was fool enough to stay open, but the delivery guys, well they were made of something far softer these days.
So the place closed down for winter, and Lou and his family headed south to their Daytona Beach trailer home. That left the likes of Cassie to do whatever they could to get through a few fallow months.
But closing down for a Maine winter was still a week away, and right now it was just the two grizzled regulars and a young couple who for some reason had thought late Fall in Maine was a good idea.
It was not the kind of a night, or the kind of a place, where you would expect to find Denny McGowan.
“Hey, Bub. You going to drink that beer or shall I wrap it so you can take it home?” Same old line, same old grunt of a response. Old Bub would be there till ten, down the rest of his Bud in a single swallow, and then head out into the night.
Cassie glanced across towards the window table. The young couple didn’t need anything yet. Back to her nails, hooker red and chipped. That kind of summed up how she felt right then. Cheap and worn. She liked it here at Pappy’s, but was she really going to be back in March to open up again? Was this her life now that she’d lasted more than a solitary season?
She took a cloth and gave the bar a spray and a wipe, even though it already had enough shine that she could do her face in it.
All this cleaning, it was wrecking her hands. The skin was dry. It made her feel old when she wasn’t even 25 until January. She hated this time of year, hated this sinking feeling, the Fall blues. She needed change. She needed something new.
She needed this not to be it.
Just then, with perfect timing, the door burst open, slamming against the wall as the gale took it. Standing there, framed in the doorway, was the guy Cassie would come to know as Denny McGowan.
In that tailored tux he looked like he should be someplace else entirely, but yet… it looked like he had walked here. On a night like this! His patent leather shoes were scuffed and dirty, there was mud around the cuffs of his pants; his shirt was untucked, his undone bow tie hanging loose. His jacket hung heavy with the rain, and his black hair was plastered to his skull. Maybe there had been an accident, or his car had broken down back on the highway.
Then, with a cheeky grin that cracked his face and put a sparkle in his eyes, he reached into his pocket, produced a fat roll of hundred dollar bills, and casually thumbed one free of the sodden mass of paper.
“So tell me, what does a guy have to do to get a drink around here?” he asked in an accent somewhere between Boston and genuine Irish, and then he stepped inside, pulling the door shut behind him and shutting the wild storm out.
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