Review, Guest Post and Giveaway: A Shot of J&B by Lou Sylvre

Blurb:
Six years ago, Brian Harrison helped save the life of Jackie Vasquez, and he’s never really forgotten him. After the rescue, Brian ended his employment with Jackie’s uncle Luki and left the US for England, aiming to distance himself from the confused feelings—not lust, but not brotherly—that then sixteen-year-old Jackie engendered. Now Jackie has become a man, and when they meet again by chance, lust with a dose of D/s rope kink is definitely on the list of possibilities. As they get to know each other, though, lust shows every sign of growing into love, deep and true.

When Jackie moves to London for graduate studies in criminal psychology, he and Brian hope they’ll be able to enjoy each other’s frequent company. But they haven’t factored in the claim Brian’s police job with Scotland Yard will make on his time, especially when the “Gaslighter crimes” sap investigative resources. An abandoned aide dog named Soldier leads to a breakthrough clue, and a chain of discoveries fall like dominoes. As Brian rushes to beat the criminal’s game before it escalates to true terror, he comes to an undeniable conclusion: Jackie Vasquez, the man he loves, is in mortal danger.

Review:
I loved seeing Jackie, Brian, Luki, Sonny, and all of the rest of the Vasquez clan in this book. Even if some of the characters are only there briefly. It was wonderful seeing Jackie grown and mostly healed. I truly enjoyed the scenes where Jackie submits to Brian and where they delve into some Shibari and rope bondage. So sexy! I kept trying to figure out who the bad guy was. I went back and forth a few times before the reveal on if my guesses were right or not. Lou Sylvre always does a wonderful job adding little details that bring the story to life. Like Jackie’s love of geocaching with stories that feel real (I’m going to assume they are since they seem like it). Not the only example, but things like that always make a story more enjoyable and help me connect with the characters even more. I’m curious what’s going to happen next for Jackie and Brian, but they are solid enough in their relationship that I can wait for the next book to find out. Sort of patiently. Maybe.
Stars:
Four

Guest Post:
I asked Lou to have Brian join us today to talk about some of his favorite rope to use, the kinds of knots and knot designs he likes the best. He definitely delivered, and even brought some visuals for us! Read and enjoy!
Hello! I’m Lou Sylvre, author of A Shot of J&B and the seven books in the Vasquez and James series. I’m only going to be here for a hot minute. I thank Molly Lolly for bravely agreeing to host my blog tour today and even letting one of my characters take over the post. So, without further ado, here he is, Mr. Brian Harrison

***

Hello readers. Before I get started on the subject I’m supposed to talk about, I’ll tell you a tiny bit about myself. As Lou said, my name is Brian Harrison. You may know that I’m a detective, that I used to work for Luki Vasquez, and now I’m with Scotland Yard. You probably figured out that Jackie Vasquez and I are an item. I knit and crochet, and bind submissive men with rope.

BDSM. I’m a Dom, and for me that particularly Shibari these days. And not just any submissive man will do. On the advice of my mentor, Tommy Fujimoto, I work with a sub who will combine with my rope work to make art. As you may have heard, lately my work of art is always Jackie. 🙂

So, down to the matter at hand. I’ve been asked to talk about my preferences for Shibari in terms of materials and knots, etc. I can do that, and I will, but you should be aware I’m still learning. I’ve mastered enough to feel confident when I’m working with a sub, but there’s a lot I still need to practice. For instance, Tommy can bind a sub completely and beautifully without a single knot—that’s a refinement of the art practiced for centuries since its beginnings in Japan.

I’ve told you what I require in a sub. To clarify my goal, I want to identify what makes the sub beautiful in my eyes at that moment, and expand on that. (All artists see differently, right?) And I feel most successful when I can make the sub feel their beauty while deep in subspace. I usually work with color, and sometimes I give the sub a choice in the matter, if it feels right. I have in the past used pre-treated and dyed rope, but more recently have collected a stock that I’ve treated myself, and occasionally I’ve dyed it as well. I generally prefer bold jewel colors. I saw glow in the dark bondage rope used recently. That seems interesting, and Jackie is intrigued, so that may be in our future.

For materials, I have a variety of clips and rings that generally come into play for suspension safety. My number one rope material is hemp, which is light, strong, and flexible. Also, it adds a dimension of texture for the sub. I have worked with linen, which can be silky smooth, so a contrast. I use nylon or paracord for suspension, but I don’t yet do a lot of that—still learning. I stay away from polypropylene and shock or bungee cords. I don’t use manila rope because it can leave pretty significant rope burns.

As to knots, well there are a lot of them and I’d love to know them all. Most important is the quick-release knot, which is like a bow with only one loop. No one should ever try rope bondage if they don’t know this knot well. Fortunately, it’s fairly easy to learn. One pull and the right “loose end” and the knot is gone. Great for safety, but it keeps the sub securely bound.

A few more knots I’ve used: (The first four pics from Two Knotty Boys at http://goo.gl/W0eeR8)

Square knot: Yes this is the good old all-purpose knot most people know how to tie, and it’s one I frequently use. It’s secure if tied properly, can be tightened (or loosened) easily, and it’s flat so it doesn’t bruise the sub. (Careful! Easy to tie wrong and have a granny knot—not useful.)

Double Coin Knot: Pretty, flat, useful for joining in a fashion similar to the trinity (below).

Trinity Knot: Looks gorgeous, is flat, and I use it for a harness or similar piece. Two ends of the rope exit from the bottom loop, and if those ends wrap around the body, they can then pass through the side loops. This is also called the Celtic knot.

Fisherman’s Knot: Like a splice, pretty secure if tied right. Mostly I’ve used it with smaller gage rope or cord for the genitals. I wouldn’t use it for suspension, I don’t think.

Rosette—a decoration by no means limited to use in bondage, but for other purposes you usually find them done with ribbon, rather than rope. 🙂 The illustration here is of an appealing use of red rosettes on white rope.

Finally, here are a couple of images of rope cuffs or shackles. The first is very pleasing asthetically, but the second can also be pleasing, and if I’m tying the hands in back, I’ll usually use this because it doesn’t put strain on the shoulders when the sub is bound for a while. (The shoulders are one of the easier places to damage for many people, and even if injury is minor at the time, repeated injury can result in serious damage. Another thing I try to be careful of when binding wrists is to go slightly above the joint, rather than close to the hand, which can cause neuropathy, or so I’ve been told.) These basic bonds can be used for ankles, or with some variation to secure wrist to leg, and so forth.

I’m thinking that’s about enough from me except to say I love what I do, and I’m glad it’s part of what inspires Lou Sylvre to write about Jackie and me. Oh, I’ve also been asked to thank you readers for being readers, and remind you about the rafflecopter giveaway. 🙂

Excerpt:
(From Chapter Two: December 26th, after a day with Luki and Sonny)

Brian had trouble keeping up with conversations and events for the rest of the evening. The only element he remained fully aware of was Jackie. Every time Jackie moved, Brian marveled at some little thing he hadn’t noticed before: the way a golden-red shine off his hair formed almost a halo when the light was behind him; the way thick, loose curls tumbled over his shoulders when he stripped the leather tie out and brushed his hands through the loosened locks; the way his pale eyes seemed more silver than gray when he laughed; the pattern of the freckles on his cheeks; the richness of his voice—slightly lower in tone and smoother in timbre than seemed expected.

In the few hours he’d studied the young man—not entirely on purpose—he’d become familiar with Jackie’s habits. Jackie bit his bottom lip when thinking just like Luki. He canted his head to the side and squinted slightly when listening. His laugh seemed always sudden and sincere—as if it took Jackie by surprise. When he spoke, intelligent words came readily to his tongue, without hesitation, but he only spoke with true purpose. And he was kind, watching for other’s needs—refilling a coffee cup, turning off a light that shone too bright in someone’s eyes, giving Bear a generous scratch behind the ears.

When it came time to leave and Jackie left the room to gather his things, Brian at last turned his full attention to his hosts. He thanked them and quite sincerely said he’d been very happy to see them again. He added, “And the food was fabulous, Luki!”

Luki chuckled, and said. “Thank you, Brian. But as preoccupied as you were, I think if I asked you tomorrow what you ate for dinner tonight, you wouldn’t even remember!”

Brian couldn’t pretend surprise that Luki had noticed. Before he could think of a reasonable response, Luki squelched any possibility of a speech with the biggest hug Brian had ever seen his former boss give anyone besides his husband, and then a giggling Sonny circled his long arms around them both and joined the squeeze. Brian’s ribs hurt a little by the time it was over.

When Jackie came from the back of the house with two suitcases and a backpack, Brian took the luggage from him and went to put it in the rental car while Jackie made his farewells to his uncles. He put the backpack in the backseat, thinking Jackie might want that available, and then laid the suitcases in the trunk. They seemed to fit perfectly in there with his own bags, but when Brian had that thought, he realized what a strange thought it was, and tried to talk himself back into his usual, more sensible perspective.

Don’t be ridiculous, Brian. Even if there was a God and that God made one person to perfectly match one other person in the entire world, luggage fitting in the trunk wouldn’t likely be a sign they’d found each other. He was able to laugh at himself a little, then, and it did help him take a mental and emotional step back. Not too far, though. Now that he and Jackie had crossed paths again, he had no desire to step back too far.

He admitted in a moment of clarity that the prospects for any future development were a bit disheartening. He lived in London, had a career and a flat and a club and a cat there. Jackie lived in Nebraska—at least Brian thought he still did—was in college, still and had years of study ahead of him pursuing the education he needed to pursue his field of interest. And who knew where in the world that would take him?

Just then, Jackie turned toward him, smile clear and lovely in the glow of the porch light, but somehow more reminiscent of the boy of six years ago than he had been at any earlier time that night. It reminded Brian who Jackie was, what he’d been through, and he thought, if ever there was a sub that required a cautious approach, Jackie is it. Brian had enough savvy to know Jackie had become interested in him, but he decided that, though he wouldn’t discourage Jackie’s interest, he also wouldn’t do anything to deliberately foster it. For the time being, he’d let Jackie take the reins, solo.

***

Rain had begun to fall heavily just as they’d pulled out onto the main road, which would take them back to Port Clifton. Visibility on the road was poor at the best of times, but on a moonless night in heavy rain, Jackie thought the chances that Brian would be able to pass the slow-moving, overloaded-looking log truck ahead of them seemed slim at best. He sighed, but not unhappily, only settling in. The ride would be longer than expected, but they’d left early so they’d likely make their flights in plenty of time.

The sound of the rain and the way it dripped down the windows seemed to close them in, to make the car’s interior seem cozy, its dash lights comforting. And Brian… he seemed steady behind the wheel, relaxed, perhaps even a masterful driver, reminding Jackie of Sonny. With the heat on low, Brian’s scent permeated the air—something with a touch of incense like quality soap, and slightly sexed, and a faint tang of end-of-a-long day man-smell. And….

“I smell leather,” Jackie said.

“Oh!” Brian flashed a smile at him. “My brother gave me a jacket for Christmas. It’s on the backseat. Still new enough to have a pretty noticeable smell. I admit I like the smell, but most of the time I hardly notice it, and I know there are people who don’t like it.”

“I like it!” Jackie laughed at his own enthusiastic answer. He knew he wasn’t being subtle, but then subtlety was not a quality he’d ever been known for. “Quite a lot, in fact. It’s one of the reasons I took up leatherwork.”

“Like tooling?”

“Tooling, burning, sewing. I like to work with soft, lighter weight leathers. I think the tooling and painting people do on heavy leather is fabulous—some of its museum quality. But I like the feel of the softer stuff, the way it responds if I treat it right, the way it looks when the right people wear it.”

“You?”

“No. Well, heh. Yes I have a few things I wear from time to time, in certain… situations.” Jackie hesitated, knew he was taking the conversation somewhere unexpected. “I had some leather that matched the color of the darkest streaks in my hair, and I made myself a harness—but that one I’ve never worn.”

“No? Why?”

“Well,” Jackie said, drawing the syllable out slightly, “the occasion just never seemed right for it, yet.”

Brian glanced at Jackie, turned his eyes back on the road, and said in a husky voice that had to be one of the sexiest sounds Jackie had ever heard. Finally, he sort of smacked his lips, chuckled once, and then said, “I’d bet good money you’ll wear it well when you decide to do so.”

Jackie said only, quietly, “Thank you, Brian.”

They didn’t speak for a while, but Jackie had no sense of awkward silence. After a time, Brian seemed to notice the classical music station playing on the radio, and said, “Oh, hey, you can change the station or turn it off if you want. I’m so used to it I forget sometimes not everyone listens to music by long-dead composers.” He laughed, a pleasant, understated sound.

Jackie answered, “No, I like it! Especially this Renaissance music—that’s Palestrina if I’m not mistaken.”

“Yes, I think you’re right.”

“Genius.”

“Probably,” Brian said, and for a few minutes they fell back into silence. They were passing through Port Clifton, but most of the town’s lights were off, and the streets deserted. Somehow, the lonely darkness inside made the inside of the car even more intimate. Jackie turned toward Brian and asked, “So, you don’t have a boyfriend, but you have a club.”

“Right,” Brian said, though he seemed to be hesitating. “I go there maybe once a week or so. I’m not going to pretend you don’t know what kind of club I’m talking about, so I’ll just say, sometimes I have a scene, occasionally I watch one. Sometimes I only have a shot of J&B and a good-natured argument with the bartender, Jamie. Sometimes I have lunch. And…,” Brian started but paused for some time before finishing his sentence. “And, when I do have a scene, it’s most likely to involve ropes or leather, and someone submitting to me.”

Jackie thought that held promise, and he felt something like a flutter of butterflies stretching their wings somewhere under his navel. He wanted to laugh, but he bit his lip and limited himself to a smile. He tried to picture what kind of place might appeal to Brian. Of the few BDSM clubs Jackie had been in, one could only be described as sleazy, one quite swank, and the others landed somewhere in-between on the classiness scale. Jackie was betting Brian’s club would be on the classy side, and he decided to test the theory.

“So,” he said, “what’s the club like? The place itself, I mean.”

“Very pleasant—very British, to my American sensibilities. Things are all polished wood and brass and subdued colors up front—understated and elegant. In the back, brick walls, tile and marble floors with lots of thick carpets, steel equipment, lots of leather. Expensive, unfortunately, but other than yarn and my cat, I don’t spend my money on much else.” He glanced at Jackie, smiling.

Jackie smiled back. “Sounds classy.” He thought for a moment, imagining, then added, “And I can see you in that environment, right at home. What about the people.”

“Variety. No one I heartily dislike, though there are only a few I really know. Tommy—he’s the man who has taught me what skills I have, and he’s still my mentor. Sponsored me into the club. Jamie, the bartender.”

“What about subs?”

“Well… I meet them because someone told them to contact me, or told me I might like to contact them, generally. I don’t go to the club to find them. I don’t see anyone repeatedly; for the most part once is good.”

Jackie nodded. He knew Brian might not have seen the motion, but he wanted to think before speaking. Before he was ready, Brian spoke up again.

“Does… does that make me sound like a cold mofo?” He chuckled, but it sounded to Jackie like his answer would matter to the other man.

He answered honestly, quietly. “No. At least, there’s too many other possibilities for me to make that assumption.”

“Never assume?”

“Right. Never assume. But, do you mind if I ask you something even more personal?”

“Shoot.”

“Um… I’m just wondering if you… think things will always be like that for you. I mean, do you think, someday—”

“Do I think I might find someone special? Would I want to?”

“Right.”

“Short answer: yes. Yes, I’d like to have a… have more with… the right person, someday.”

Jackie nodded again. He didn’t have anything more to ask, and thought it would be okay to just be quiet and let peace settle as the car rumbled over the noisy steel bridge deck crossing the Narrows. But Brian apparently felt differently.

“What about you, Jackie? No boyfriend now, right?”

“No,” Jackie said, not sure why the question should take him by surprise. “No, I’ve never really had a boyfriend since high school, before my brother and I left home.”

“You’re busy with school and everything, but…. Well, I told you my ‘someday’ answer. What about yours? Hopes, dreams, maybes?”

“All of the above.” Jackie hadn’t hesitated—he knew his own mind well. He added, “As you said, with the right guy.”

They did fall silent then, as Brian maneuvered the rather tricky interchange onto I-5 Northbound, then dealt with a heavy downpour, water on the road, and spray from truck tires drowning the Sonata’s windshield. Jackie had never become used to Puget Sound driving conditions, and the slap of water cutting off all visibility startled him. He drew in a breath and stiffened, but Brian, while keeping the wheel firm in the grip of one strong hand, reached over with the other and laid a hand on his shoulder.

“Are you okay?”

“Yes.” Jackie let the word out on a sigh of relief. “Thanks.”

Brian said nothing but squeezed his shoulder before taking his hand away. Jackie missed it, oddly.

Fifteen minutes later, Brian followed signs off one freeway onto another, and then onto the airport access. “If you want I can drop you at the entrance for your airline, but I think we have plenty of time. If we stay together, we can get coffee or something.”

“Yeah,” Jackie said. “Coffee would be lovely.”

About Lou:
Lou Sylvre lives and writes on the rainy side of Washington State, penning mostly suspense/romance novels because she can’t resist giving her characters hard times but good love. Her personal assistant is Boudreau, a large cat who never outgrew his kitten meow, and he makes a point of letting her know when she’s taken a plot tangent too far. He (Boudreau) invites readers to give their feedback as well!

Author Contact:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LouSylvre
Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorLouSylvre
Twitter: http://twitter.com/sylvre

Where To Buy:
Dreamspinner Press eBook: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6067
Dreamspinner Press Paperback: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6068

Tour Stops:
16-Mar:
Bayou Book Junkie
17-Mar: Prism Book Alliance
18-Mar: MM Good Book Reviews
19-Mar: The Novel Approach
20-Mar: Love Bytes
23-Mar: Sinfully Sexy
24-Mar: Parker Williams
25-Mar: Molly Lolly
26-Mar: Inked Rainbow Reads
27-Mar: Rainbow Gold Reviews

Giveaway:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.