Have you met Malin and her Roadhouse Blues?
I’m telling you, you must simply buy this book immediately – Malin is a master of the sensual melancholy and ferocious sexual hunger and I’m utterly delighted to be part of her blog tour…
Take it away Ms James!
First of all, thank you for having me, Tabitha! It’s lovely to be on your gorgeous blog! I went through a lot of options as I thought about which excerpt to share. Did I want to go funny? Serious? Dark? Light? Explicit? Teasy? In the end, I decided to go with an excerpt that features two characters who are at the center of one of the main story lines in the collection.
One of the only things I knew when I started Roadhouse Blues is that it was going to be a collection of linked short stories. In some cases, the links are almost incidental. In others, the connecting threads are deliberate enough to form an arc. “Down & Dirty” is one of the latter.
In this story, we meet Liz and Joe. He’s a mechanic and she owns the garage he works at. He’s also married to Liz’s sister, Mary, and the three of them form a tight unit based on his unconventional, open relationship with each of them. Later in the collection, we see how their relationships play out over time, but in “Down & Dirty”, we get a sense of Liz’s unapologetic sexuality and a snapshot of how loving and collaborative rough sex and non-monogamy can be.
Excerpt from “Down & Dirty”
A car door slammed outside Mulvaney & Sons Garage. Liz Mulvaney glanced up. She could hear Joe cursing his piece of shit truck all the way back in her office. She grinned and turned back to the phone. “He just pulled in. Call you back, Mary girl.”
Liz set the receiver down. Thanks to her little sister, her best mechanic was late again. Not terrible late—just enough to stir shit up. Trust Mary to get it right. Liz smiled in that bar-brawl way she had. Then she slapped on her game face and slid her coveralls down, so they hung low around her hips. She loved the way her wife-beater stretched over her tits and across her strong, toned back. She fucking loved her body, and she let it show. A woman shouldn’t do that—enjoy her body as much as a man. Then again, a woman shouldn’t run a garage either, but that didn’t stop her from doing it. Fuck what women should do.
Liz sauntered into the garage, loving the way her soft parts and hard parts pulled together just right. “You’re late, princess,” she said, picking up a wrench.
“You try gettin’ around on these,” Joe said, lifting a crutch. “Mary needed help and then—holy shit!” Joe’s crutch hit a grease patch. He wobbled and flailed, like God was in on the plan. Liz caught his skinny ass just before he went down.
“Might help if you weren’t drunk,” she said, easily taking his weight.
He stared at her, face blank as an oil pan. Then the engine light went on, and Joe shook his head. “Fuck’s sake,” he grumbled. “You too, now….”
“Yeah,” she said, mild as milk. “Me, too.” Liz smiled and let him go. His crutch slid out from under him, quick as a practical joke. This time, she didn’t catch him, and he landed flat on his ass. Liz heard something crack. Probably his pride.
“FUCK!” Joe grabbed the double-crossing crutch and threw it across the garage. Then he grabbed the other one and tried to get up. He tried for a good, long minute. Finally, he slumped. “Little help, Liz?”
She cracked her gum and shrugged. “What do you want me to do?”
“Well, shit. I don’t know. Maybe get my goddamn crutch?”
Liz gave him her sweet face. “Golly, Joe. I don’t think I like your tone.”
“Jesus Christ,” he grumbled. “Fine. Would you please get my crutch? Pretty please with fucking cherries on top?”
Liz wrestled down a grin. She had such a soft spot for that man…. Then she coughed and pulled it together. “How long you had that cast on?”
Joe raked his hands through his hair, wrecking his pompadour. “Fuck,” he muttered, pulling out a comb. “I don’t know. You tell me.”
“Six weeks,” she said, warming up. “How much drinking you been doing in those six weeks?”
Joe shoved his comb in his pocket. “I got no idea, but I bet you’re gonna tell me.”
“Damn right I’m gonna tell you,” she said, spitting out her gum. “Enough so that my little sister just called crying that her man’s turned into a drunk.” Liz felt him switch gears as she stared him down. Foreplay was over. Time to play hardball.
“None of your business what a man does under his own roof, Liz.”
Liz didn’t laugh. She barked—a hard, bitten cough that belonged to someone twice her age. “Oh, it’s my business, all right. That roof you got is mine. I mortgaged our daddy’s garage to keep my baby sister and her hard-working husband out of some piece of shit trailer. So, when her hard-working husband starts coming in late, it’s all my goddamn business. I need a drunk mechanic like a hole in the head, and she needs a deadbeat even less. Now get the fuck up.”
Liz stalked across the room and threw him the crutch. Joe caught it midair. “Fuck you, butch.”
Liz smiled, lazy-like and slow. He always said the right thing. “What did you just call me?”
Joe struggled to his feet. “Butch, Liz. I called you butch.”
The smile crept into her eyes and turned them hard, like the wrench in her hand. Nothing felt hotter than getting pissed off. Nothing felt good like that good, old anger. She set the wrench aside. “Yeah. That’s what I thought.”
Liz unwrapped a stick of Wrigley’s and gave it a couple chews. Then she crossed the room, navigating engine blocks and oil pans, a queen in her goddamn kingdom. Joe watched her, like a fox in front of a freight train. She knew that look. She loved that look—it meant she could trust that he knew what was coming. Made it all the sweeter when her fist hit his face.
“FUCK!” Joe hit the ground again.
This time Liz was on him, pinning him down with her tight, muscular weight. “Butch, huh? Fuck you. You come in like this again, I’ll cut your balls off with a chainsaw.”
Joe bucked and doubled down. “What was that,” he said with a shit-eating grin. “I didn’t quite hear you. Butch.”
Liz smacked him again. Goddamn she loved hitting him. “Hear me?”
Joe shook his head. “Sorry. Say again?”
This time, when she hit him, she didn’t hold back. Joe took it square, like she knew he would. “How’s that, princess? Got it now?”
“Yeah,” he said, rubbing his jaw. “Yeah. Got it loud and clear.”
“Apologize,” she murmured. She didn’t really need it. She just wanted to hear the words.
Joe nodded, eyes dark and heavy on hers. He knew what she was after. “I’m awfully sorry, Liz.”
“Good.” They stared at each other for a good, long minute. She could feel how hard he was through his coveralls, and she knew goddamn well how wet she was. He wouldn’t break the stalemate—that was hers to do. She let it ride a little longer, let all the filthy fucking goodness whip up like a dare. Then she leaned in, eyes open, and slowly bit his lip. She never said no to a dare.
Fucking Hell to the YESSS!!! Thank you Malin! buy this book from Amazon here and the wonderful, Go Deeper Press, here 😀