Tuesday 22 March 2016

Hard Candy by Amy Jo Cousins - Book Excerpt

This week Amy Jo Cousins has a new Bend or Break novella bundle out! Between a Rock and a Hard Place includes Bend or Break novellas Love Me Like a Rock and Hard Candy.

You can find the novellas as individual installments or as part of the bundle, but first of all, check out an excerpt from Hard Candy below. (Gah! I love this excerpt!)

From the Blurb:

When friends lose the benefits, can the friendship be saved?

Love Me Like A Rock

With the right art tools, there’s almost nothing Austin can’t make real. Except an official relationship with his best friend, rowing teammate and occasional hookup, Vinnie.

Emotional and sexual frustration fuel a spark between Austin and Sean, the nude model in drawing class. After a quick and very dirty encounter, all the reasons Austin has been waiting for Vinnie go fuzzy in his mind.

But if Austin can’t get his head and his heart on the same page, he could lose both his friend, and his lover.

Hard Candy

Vincent always assumed he and Austin would eventually end up together. But now that Austin’s in love with another man, Vinnie is at a loss.

After the world’s most awkward one-night stand with Bryan, a dance major, Vinnie is drawn to his vibrant spirit and calm center.

Physically, the rowing jock and the glittery dancer can match each other stroke for booty pop. But for the lovers to meet on common ground, they’ll have to find a way to get moving in the same direction.

Warning: Contains a pushy cox, an uptight rower, a rock-steady rock geek, and a dancer who looks fabulous in a skirt. The difference between friends with benefits and just friends is easier to figure out when tent sex and yoga lessons are on the line.


When Bryan opened the door to his room, for a split second, Vinnie thought it was all going to be okay.

Bryan was wearing a suit coat. Tightly tailored, admittedly, but three-buttoned and a pristine black wool over a skinny black turtleneck. Monochromatic and stark, the suit made Bryan look like he’d just walked off the pages of GQ.

“Well, aren’t you just Godfrey Gao on a Popsicle stick?” Bryan drawled as Vinnie executed a courtly half bow.

Then Vinnie took a step forward and jerked to a halt as he glanced down.

A skirt.

Bryan was wearing a long, narrow skirt over shiny black boots that laced up high. With one hip cocked, a casual hand resting on it, the long, dark length of fabric pulled tight against Bryan’s leg. Vinnie had never seen anything like it outside of a movie, but Bryan was coolly elegant and clearly high fashion—sharp, masculine, a perfect match for Vinnie’s own expensive and carefully put-together outfit.

They would look magnificent walking in the door of the hotel restaurant. Like models off the fucking runway visiting the peasants.

He wanted to run his hand down the length of that skirt, the muscles tight beneath his palm until he passed the hem and slipped his hand back up, up, up. It suddenly occurred to him that Bryan might be wearing stockings under that skirt and all the blood in his body zoomed to his dick.

He pictured his parents, looking up from the table as he and Bryan approached.

The burgeoning explosion in his balls evaporated.

Holy shit. Bryan was wearing a skirt.

“Am I too casual for dinner?”

And for a split second, he wanted to grasp at the affirmative answer like a rope thrown overboard to a man whose mouth had just filled with cold salt water.

Bryan’s hand rested lightly against the edge of his door as he held it open.

Vinnie knew without a doubt that if he grabbed hold of that rope, the door would shut, and shut for good, with him on the outside of it.

He swallowed past the lump in his throat. “You’re perfect.”

Bryan’s shoulders pulled up and he tucked his head down a little, letting go of the door to step back into his room just enough to let Vinnie in. He avoided Vinnie’s gaze with enough purpose that for a moment, Vinnie wondered what he’d said that had gone wrong. But Bryan’s cheeks were pink now, the blush a darkening under his brown skin, and it was suddenly clear that he was pleased.

Pleased, and shy about it.

Vinnie wondered how much nerve it had taken for Bryan to get dressed, knowing the likelihood of Vinnie’s response being a negative one. Wondered if his hands had shaken as he’d zipped up the elegant skirt, smoothing the fabric down over his narrow hips before buttoning the coat. Wondered if Bryan’s stomach had roiled with nerves, if he’d laid a hand flat against the wood of the door for a moment to collect himself before opening.

And Vinnie had come so close, so close, to fucking it up.

The yawning pit under his feet threatened to swallow him.

Jesus Christ. You have to stop acting and saying things without thinking first. Your automatic responses aren’t good enough here and you will fuck this up if you treat him the way you’ve treated everyone else in your life. Remember Austin.

But even Austin was never so complicated as Bryan.

Who was still not looking at him, twisting his fingers together in front of his stomach.

Vinnie reached out and laid a hand on that nervous, twitching grip. Lifted his other hand to rest his fingertips against the sharp line of Bryan’s jaw.

“You are perfect. Stunning. They aren’t going to know what hit them.”

“Who isn’t?” Bryan asked with a sniff, blinking shiny eyes.

“All of Northampton,” he said firmly and tugged Bryan closer. It wouldn’t be fair not to warn him. “And my parents, who are not going to be prepared for someone like you.”

Bryan bit his lip, still shy but meeting his eyes now. That pale jade green so startling in Bryan’s tan face. “Are they gonna be mad? Or embarrassed?”

This was no time for lying.

“Maybe. But they won’t say a word to you, I promise. That’s not their style.”

“You’ll hear about it afterward.”

Vinnie tried to school the grim look off his face. “That is likely, yes.”

Bryan’s chest lifted and fell with his next deep breath.

“I can change. If you want. Wear something…” he waved a hand at himself, “…less.”

Less was a word that should never exist in the same sentence with Bryan’s name. “No. Way.” He pulled Bryan close enough to press a kiss to his forehead, like a benediction.

“You are fucking gorgeous. Screw them. They’ll deal.”

The smile that split Bryan’s face threatened to outshine the brothel-red silk lampshade.

“You are one special man, Vincent Lim.”

“I try.”

“I can tell,” Bryan said, and laced their fingers together after slipping into a deep-plum coat that swung from his shoulders to swirl around the calves of his boots. His hand squeezed tightly around Vinnie’s as they stepped into the hall, and Vinnie wondered if this was what it felt like every day for Bryan. Like strapping on armor and a shield before stepping onto the field of battle and hoping the wounds you’d bring home wouldn’t be fatal.


Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Amy Jo Cousins is a contemporary romance, double novella, released by Samhain Publishing on March 22, 2016.


Find this Book: Amazon | Amazon UK | ARe | Publisher | Goodreads

You can also purchase Love Me Like a Rock and Hard Candy as separate novellas:

Love Me Like a Rock: Amazon | Amazon UK | ARe | Publisher | Goodreads

Hard Candy: Amazon | Amazon UK | ARe | Publisher | Goodreads

About the Author:

Amy Jo Cousins writes contemporary romance and erotica about smart people finding their own best kind of smexy. She lives in Chicago with her son, where she tweets too much, sometimes runs really far, and waits for the Cubs to win the World Series.

Fun facts: Amy Jo can get back into a kayak in the open water if she falls out of it, taught herself and her son how to say I love you in seventeen languages, and once ran the table in a game of eight ball.

Social Links: Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Website

More from Amy Jo Cousins on Love Reading Romance:

Full Exposure by Amy Jo Cousins - Book Review
Level Hands by Amy Jo Cousins - Book Excerpt
'90s Playlist (Romance Rewind Book 1) - Book Excerpt
Dance Hall Days by Amy Jo Cousins - Book Excerpt from All in a Day's Work
Callie, Unwrapped by Amy Jo Cousins - Book Review