Hi Amy and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Playing It Safe!
Thanks so much to Sara and the HJ community for having me!
Please summarize the book a la Twitter style for the readers here:
A slow burn, sweet-with-heat, secret-liaison MM romance set in the world of Australian rugby. Can Donovan have rugby *and* Beck or will he have to choose?
Please share the opening lines of this book:
Donovan Bane loved women. He loved his fourteen-year old daughter and the sassy young woman she was becoming so much more than he would ever be capable of articulating. He loved his high school best friend-cum-ex-wife. He loved his mother and his three sisters and his multiple aunties and female cousins. He loved the women his Sydney Smoke teammates had chosen as life partners and considered them friends.
Please share a few Fun facts about this book…
- I changed Beck’s name about a dozen times before I settled on Beck.
- There’s this great glossary of Aussie terms at the back of each rugby book and its been so much fun adding to it as each book has been published.
- I had fun being able to showcase some of the Australian/NZ banter and rivalry that our countries are known for!
What first attracts your Hero to the Heroine and vice versa?
It’s a real eyes meeting across a room moment when Dono and Beck first meet. There’s that intangible x-factor that they both feel. A real draw neither can ignore.
Using just 5 words, how would you describe Hero and Heroine’s love affair?
Sweet. Secret. Risky. Chemistry. Compulsion.
The First Kiss…
Their eyes locked. “You should send me away.”
Probably. But seeing the usually calm and reasoned Beckett so…undone was sparking little fires in his belly and his thighs and his ass. His breath stuttered to a halt at the twin flares of desire he saw burning in the other man’s eyes.
But he made absolutely no move to do so.
Another beat passed. Two. Then, “Fuck it,” Beckett swore under his breath as he took two steps forward, slid a hand onto Donovan’s nape, and kissed him hard. It took a couple of seconds for Donovan to respond, for all the parts of him to come together, to register the firm mouth, the delicious minty breath, the hot spice of cologne. To realise he was being kissed. By a man.
It was a busy couple of seconds. But in one pure beat of the heart, it all clicked, and he ceded to the probing of Beckett’s tongue against his closed lips, opening to him, every cell straining to the feel of his mouth, to the taste of him, to the smell of him. It filled up Donovan’s senses until he was drowning in sensations.
So this was how it felt to be kissed by a man. Harder, deeper, earthier. Scratchier, bulkier, hairier. Double the testosterone. Triple the hit. Like being part of those YouTube videos, not just an onlooker.
This was what he’d been waiting for. This moment. Nothing had ever felt this right. This natural. This innate. Nothing. Not even rugby. And it consumed him.
Beckett consumed him.
Without revealing too much, what is your favorite scene in the book?
I love the clumsiness/awkwardness that Donovan feels in the beginning over being such a novice concerning all things gay. I think this scenes typifies that.
Donovan shook his head as the weight of the unknown threatened to crush him. He backed up a step or two, and Beckett’s hand slid from his arm. He turned and paced into the living area. It was easy for Beckett—he’d been living a full life as a gay man for a lot longer. He knew all the rules. All the do’s and don’ts. The…conventions.
Donovan was utterly clueless.
Standing near the couch, he turned and faced the other man. “I don’t know. That’s the thing…I don’t know how it works with two gay men.”
Beckett gave a crooked smile. “Pretty much the same as two straight people.”
“No, I mean…” Fuck. Absently, he started cracking his knuckles. What did he mean?
“Donovan,” Beckett said quietly, his smile gentle. “Is this about the sex stuff?”
“No. Yes.” Donovan stopped cracking his knuckles. “Maybe.” He started to pace from the couch to the bean bag and back again. “I mean…I don’t even know how to do the sex stuff.”
A low chuckle slid from Beckett’s lips. “Oh, trust me, you know how to do the sex stuff.”
Donovan stopped pacing and glanced at Beckett. “What? That thing just now? That’s what it is?”
“Sure.” He shrugged. “Sometimes.”
“See, I don’t know any of this. I’m just a…big…gay… virgin. In every sense of the word. This is my first rodeo.”
Beckett laughed, full and throaty. “A gay virgin?”
“Well, I don’t know, do I?” He started to pace again, cracking his knuckles in time with the falls of his feet. “I mean, is there such a thing? Because I have had sex before, so I’m technically not a virgin? Does sex with a woman count in—” Christ, he didn’t know…some mental ledger?
“The land of the gays?”
Donovan shot Beckett—who was clearly enjoying himself a little too much—an exasperated glare. He just grinned bigger as Donovan paced.
“Do gay men consider other gay men who haven’t had sex with a man a virgin?” he continued.
“Wow, you really do overthink things, don’t you?”
Another thought occurred to Donovan then, and he stopped abruptly. “Am I still a gay virgin after what happened before? Did you just…pop my gay cherry?”
Beckett burst out laughing, throwing his head back. Donovan shoved his hands on his hips and waited for the hilarity to die down. “I’m sorry,” Beckett said, trying to suppress his laughter and catch his breath. “I know these are genuine questions. It’s just…you’re too damn cute.”
If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would be absolutely crucial to include?
The scene where Donovan first let’s Beck into his house – where he knows they have chemistry and should keep the man at a distance but he stands aside and allows him to enter anyway.
“Have you come for your bike?”
Beck shook his head slowly, the thud of his heart like a gong in his chest. Tonight’s game and his urge to see Donovan had completely obliterated the bike from his memory.
“No.” He hadn’t meant for it to sound so low and rough, but it did. He watched as Donovan swallowed, the bob of his throat thick and apparently painful if his grimace was any indication. His large hands clenched and unclenched by his side, his jaw blanched almost white through the cover of his whiskers. It was as if he was standing on some kind of precipice, deciding whether or not to take a chance and leap.
“It’s okay…I can go,” Beck offered. Hell, he shouldn’t have come.
But then Donovan stood aside, a clear invitation. “It’s fine,” he said, and Beck brushed past him and into the house.
Readers should read this book …
If they love sports romance, MM romance or love a good awkward hot rugby dude desperate to be loved but too afraid to reach out for it.
What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have planned?
Currently working on book 8 in the rugby series – new US recruit Ronan’s book – and my Tule Christmas book, You Had Me At Chocolate.
Thanks for blogging at HJ!
Giveaway: A digital copy of Playing It Safe by Amy Andrews
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Excerpt from Playing It Safe:
Beck didn’t think there was a gay man alive capable of not checking out Donovan Bane’s ass as he climbed the massive Japanese maple tree that seemed to take up the entire front yard of his neighbour’s property. He sure as shit did. It might have been raining and dark, but Mrs. Connor had handed him a torch and told him to light Donovan’s way, and who was he to disappoint a sweet, little old lady?
Was it his fault that the powerful beam managed to spotlight the climbing man to perfection, allowing him to ogle all that magnificence? It was hard not to, what with the cling of those very wet shorts showcasing glutes that were so round and taut Beck actually salivated at the thought of sinking his teeth into them. And then there was the back view of his thick legs, hamstrings and calves working in beautiful tandem.
Yes, indeed—Donovan was one very big boy.
God knew, Beck was no sapling. At six-foot-two and a hundred kilos, he was broad-chested with well-defined abs. And quads and calves (thanks to cycling) that most would consider big. But compared to Donovan, who probably had him by thirty kilos or so and was just plain thick through the chest and abs and legs, Beck was positively lean.
For a guy built like a tank, he was surprisingly agile, though, his step light as he powered upward toward the cat. If it had been any other tree, Beck might have worried that the branches would break under the strain of supporting such a huge frame, but the big limbs were solid and gnarled with age, barely giving at all beneath Donovan’s weight.
“He’s such a good boy to me,” Mrs. Connor said affectionately, projecting her crackly voice over the noise of the rain.
They were standing under the overhang of the roof that extended out from the front door to form a porch. There was no light, other than the outward beam of the torch, but it kept them relatively dry in the inclement weather. “I’m very lucky to have him as a neighbour.”
Lucky to have that kind of eye candy on call night and day? Hell yes, she was. “Good neighbours are a godsend,” Beck replied, smiling down at the woman, who beamed back, clearly thrilled they were on the same wavelength.
Beck was great with grandmothers. Flirting and grandmothers. And blowjobs.
Because it was difficult to be getting such a glorious view of Donovan’s back and not think about the front. About how much he’d like to take what he was sure would be a very impressive erection in his mouth and blow both Donovan’s cock and his mind. Had he ever had a blowjob by a man before? Just because he’d never admitted out loud he was gay to a guy before didn’t mean he didn’t have an arrangement with some discrete dude or service, perhaps, for the purpose of sexual release.
Although Beck hoped not. Because he couldn’t deny, the idea of him being Donovan’s first was fast becoming an obsession. Sure, closeted guys were off Beck’s relationship radar, but potentially introducing this guy to the delights of another man’s body was firmly on his sexy-times radar.
Not that such thoughts were exactly respectable, standing next to a woman who’d proudly told him she was eighty-six and a great-grandmother six times over. Beck filed those thoughts under spank bank and ordered the horny little devil that had been riding his shoulder since Monday to shut up.
“He’s nearly there,” Mrs. Connor said.
Her hand fluttered absently near her throat as she watched Donovan inch closer to her very bedraggled cat. Wally’s fur was soaked and clinging to his body like Donovan’s shorts were clinging to his ass. Except beneath the fur the cat was impressively skinny, and beneath those shorts, Donovan was impressively not.
Even through the shroud of pissing rain, the cat was visibly trembling as Donovan reached out his hand. It didn’t move from its spot, however, and Beck watched as Donovan inched a little closer, sliding his arm around the cat’s middle and lifting. Wally, though, was not having any of it as he clung to the branch for grim death, protesting the intervention with hissing and a meow loud enough to be heard over the rain. But Donovan persisted, and eventually, the cat unfurled his claws.
“Oh…he did it!” Mrs. Connor exclaimed, clapping her hands.
Beck smiled. “He did.” And he thanked the universe that he’d been here to witness the Donovan Bane, pro rugby god, in the role of cat rescuer.
Excerpts. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Donovan Bane loves playing rugby for the Sydney Smoke. And if that means he has to keep his sexuality a secret, that’s a sacrifice he’s prepared to make. At least until after he retires, anyway. He doesn’t want to be the first pro rugby player in Australia to officially come out while still playing. The team doesn’t need the media shit storm and he’d rather be known for his footy skills. Which means no dating, no relationships, no sex. Nothing but playing ball.
Until one man suddenly changes everything…
Beckett Stanton is out and proud—and not looking for a guy who isn’t. Been there, done that, complete disaster. Unfortunately, on the first day of his new job working for the Sydney Smoke, he locks eyes with Donovan Bane and he’s a goner. Big, gruff, and athletic isn’t usually Beck’s type, but for some reason this man is ticking all his boxes. And it’s clear the feeling is mutual. It’s also clear that Donovan is not out, and doesn’t plan to be anytime soon. Still, Beck can’t resist being the man to show Donovan everything he’s been missing.
For the first time, Donovan doesn’t play it safe and allows himself to indulge in things with Beck he knows he can’t have. But when their relationship gets serious, he knows he has to choose between the career he loves and the man he loves, because how can he possibly have both?
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Meet the Author:
Amy is an award-winning, USA Today best-selling, triple RITA nominated Aussie author who has written eighty contemporary romances in both the traditional and digital markets.
Her books bring all the feels from sass and quirk and laughter to emotional grit to panty-melting heat. She loves frequent travel, good books and great booze although she’ll take mediocre booze if there’s nothing else. For many, many years she was a registered nurse. Which means she knows things. Anatomical things. And she’s not afraid to use them!