For years, I’ve been bound by sleeplessness and sorrow. His voice threatens to set me free.
Insomnia. It’s part of the penance I pay for my greatest mistake. But when an ill-timed doze behind the wheel of my car nearly introduces me to a pole, I know something has to change.
Sleep with Me, a locally-made meditation app, promises a cure. I don’t expect it to work. Nor do I expect to become enthralled by the voice of its creator, Sam Stephenson. His ability to coax forth my nightly surrender is unnerving. I have to meet this man and learn the secret behind his techniques, so I can evict him from my head—and still get a good night’s sleep.
In person, the quiet and reclusive Sam is his own kind of complicated. He needs my business skills as much as I need his meditation skills and we forge an unlikely partnership. But the attraction between us soon flares into passion and, as we grow closer, I start to long for more than my guilty conscience will allow.
I have no right to love, not after the damage I’ve done. How can I give Sam all he deserves, when our chance at a happy ending was ruined before we even met?
Cover Artist: Bec Rivers
Release Date: March 29, 2021
Genre: MM Romance
Themes: Grief, Penance, Personal Growth
Heat Rating: 4 flames
Length: 70,000 words
It is a standalone book.
Buy Links - Available in Kindle Unlimited
Tell us a little about yourself.
I live in Brisbane, Australia with my very own hero husband, two quirky kids and a big black dog. When I’m not reading or writing, I can be found listening to loud music, drinking too much coffee, and thinking about writing. My hobbies (which I don’t get anywhere near enough time to indulge in) include singing, origami, playing my piano, and designing graphics for my Instagram feed.
What would people be most surprised to know about you?
Unlike many writers, I was not a big reader as a kid. Then, when I was 16 years old, my mum pulled one of her many, many romance novels off the shelf and handed it to me. She thought I might enjoy it. The book was Passion’s Captive by Lori Copeland. I adored it! It was funny and romantic and totally swoon-worthy. I was hooked. From then on, I was never far from a book.
Did you always want to be a writer?
Not at all! I studied psychology at university and had every intention of saving the world with my amazing skills. That didn’t quite happen. I ended up working more in research areas, which I loved. But then one day I picked up a pen and started writing a story that was wandering about in my head. The writing pretty much took over from there.
What’s your favorite part of writing?
I love the part where I have a basic draft of a scene written and I get to rewrite it over and over until it shines. Playing with phrases, getting bits of dialogue just right, making myself laugh, cry or sigh with pleasure. For me, those are the magical moments of writing.
Why did you choose to write GLBTQ romance/fiction?
When I began writing romance it never occurred to me I would ever write anything other than MF novels. At the time, I didn’t even know any other options existed. Fast forward a few years and one of the publishing companies put out a call for short stories for a ménage anthology. It sparked an idea in me, and I started writing. I missed the deadline for the anthology, but the story wouldn’t leave me alone, so I kept writing. That book became Our Little Secret. After that, I continued to follow my muse wherever she led. In the end, I never felt like I chose to write gay and ménage romances, any more than I chose to write straight romances. I’ve just continued to write stories for the characters who show up in my head.
Do you write any other genre?
All my books sit happily in the romance genre, but when it comes to sub-genres I have enjoyed quite a bit of variety. I’ve written MF, MMF and MM romances. I’ve also written a paranormal romance where magick abounds and an insane vampire lurks in the shadows.
Give the readers a brief summary of your latest book or WIP. What genre does it fall in?
Tristan Whitmore needs sleep. He’s tried everything to cure his insomnia, from acupuncture to caffeine deprivation. Then a friend recommends a sleep app made by a local meditation teacher. Tristan doesn’t expect it to work. Nor does he expect to become enthralled by the voice of its creator, Sam Stephenson. The voice draws him in, seduces him, gets under his skin. It also puts him to sleep. Unnerved by Sam’s ability to manipulate him, Tristan decides he must meet this man and learn his secrets. It’s the only way he’ll be able to evict Sam from his head—and still get a good night’s sleep.
The Harder We Fall is a hurt/comfort MM Romance.
Give us a little insight into your main characters. Who are they?
Tristan is a man with a guilty conscience. He views his insomnia as just one facet of the penance he pays for his greatest sin. When a badly timed doze almost leads to an accident, he knows something has to change. But the true cure to his insomnia lies in dealing with his underlying guilt. Something he has no intention of doing—ever.
Sam has suffered from anxiety all his life. He learned meditation to help him stay calm and became a teacher to help others do the same. But his business is going under. When Tristan offers him professional advice in exchange for information about his techniques, he has no choice but to accept.
The attraction between the two men is immediate and intense. But as they grow closer, the complications inherent in their lives start to get in the way.
Which actor would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
I always think about my dream cast when I’m writing a book. It’s fun and gives me pictures to put on my Pinterest boards. When writing The Harder We Fall, I cast the amazingly talented Zac Efron in the role of Tristan. Alex Pettyfer, as he looked in the movie Beastly, was my perfect Sam.
What was the last book you read? What did you like about it?
The Fall by May Archer. I loved the way her descriptions brought the book to life for me. I could easily see all the different characters in my head, which is always a plus. And I loved the two main characters. The way Silas’ initial reluctance gave way to surprise and then love was a real treat.
“We’re running out of time.”
“So, we are,” I say with a false show of surprise. “It’s my fault, of course.” I pause, trying to figure out how to word the next part without making it obvious this was part of my plan all along. “I could always email you the questions. Then you can take as long as you like to answer them. After you send them back, I’ll write up a plan and we can meet again to discuss it.”
He looks aghast at the idea. “That’s a lot of work. I don’t want to take up too much of your time.”
“Actually, Sam, I’m the one asking for more of your time.” I brandish my most charming smile. It’s worked on men in the past, though I’m not usually trying this hard for the win. Desperation may have knocked the polish off.
Sam’s mouth drops open and somehow he manages to look panicked and thrilled at the same time. “You want to see me again?” he asks. “For the quid pro quo, I mean.”
“If you don’t mind.” I try to look calm, but my pulse is roaring like an express train. If he says no, I’m screwed. “I know this is all a bit odd, me coming to you the way I have. I suppose I hoped, once we met, you might be willing to give this whole process some more time.”
He shifts in his chair again, his gaze dropping. There’s no sign of his earlier trepidation, though, only a subtle wariness. “This was never going to be one hour, was it?”
“Not really, no,” I say, surprised at my honesty. “Not if we’re both going to get what we want from this.”
I can feel his attention all over me, even with his gaze glued to the table. “What exactly do you want from me, Tristan?”
It’s the voice. Right there in front of me. Coming from his mouth. Holy fuck.
Hearing that voice say my name, after all the ways I’ve used and abused his—in curses and moans and whispered pleas—is a goddamned fantasy come to life. Lust surges through my veins and I want to growl in frustration. This infatuation has to end. “I need to stop sleeping with you.”
His head snaps upright and we both gasp.
My right hand slaps over my mouth. “Fuck, I didn’t mean it like that.”
Looking away again, he releases a shaky breath. “It’s all right.” He runs absent hands along his arms, soothing a severe case of goosebumps. Sam is responding to my voice, my words, the same way I inevitably respond to his.
How would we respond to each other’s touch? Stifling a groan, I shift clenched fists into my lap. That’s not what this is about. I’m obsessed enough without learning the texture of his skin and the taste of his—
Sam starts to laugh, really laugh. “That stupid name,” he manages to say between breaths. “Sleep with Me. It wasn’t even my idea, but it certainly does get a reaction.” There’s another peel of laughter, as if he’s releasing all the tension from his body, and I find myself joining in. Every time we look at each other it gets worse and before I know it my stomach is sore from laughing. It feels good to laugh at myself. Weird, but good.
“Let me rephrase,” I say as we start to regain our composure. “What I mean is, now you’ve succeeded in getting me to sleep, I want to figure out how to do it on my own.”
“Should be easy enough. It’s probably something in the phrasing.”
Reality seeps back in, killing off the last of my amusement. “No, it’s something else.” Sam isn’t the first person to tell me to let go of my guilt. My mother used to say it constantly. It wasn’t your fault, Tristan. You shouldn’t blame yourself. She didn’t believe her words any more than I did, but she tried. “I don’t know what it is about you that’s different. I don’t think it’s necessarily something you can teach me, but whatever it is, I need to figure it out.”
“So, what’s the plan?” he asks with a baffled expression. “Are you going to hang around me until you get your answer through osmosis or something?”
“Maybe? I don’t know.” I drop my head into my hands. “Honestly, I’m making this up as I go along.”
“You and me both,” he says with a snort. “I don’t know if I can give you the answer you’re looking for, Tristan. But I’ll try.”
Slumping back in my chair, I release a sigh. “Thank you, Sam.”
He smiles that tiny smile and I try not to drool when his cheeks turn pink. “It’s my pleasure.”
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Rebecca is a long-time lover of all things romance. Whether it’s a book, movie, or real life, she will always have more fun if there’s a love interest thrown into the mix. She lives in Queensland, Australia with her very own hero husband, two quirky kids and one big, black dog. Other than reading and writing books, her favourite things include loud music, enjoying a glass of wine on the patio, organising everything in existence, and spending too much time on the Internet.
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