Welcome to Author Spotlights on Mondays! Rhiannon Ayers is back for another visit and she's giving us a peek at her latest book from her For Love of Authority series, Saints United. Be sure to check out my interview with her and leave a comment to win a copy of Saints United via a Siren gift code!
Eight years later, AJ is starting over. New job, new city, new life—and all of it without his wife and son. Marian divorced him and took sole custody, leaving AJ to wonder if the rest of his life will end up as useless as his shattered marriage.
Little does AJ know he's got a couple of Saints looking out for him. Ryder St. Claire married Lyss three years ago, and the two of them have been searching for their third-the man who will offer his submission and give them everything they cannot give each other. But can they overcome years of emotional abuse to convince AJ he deserves to be happy?
“Beautiful?” Ryder called as he closed and locked the door behind them. “We’re here.”
“Yeehaw!” said a joyful voice from the back of the apartment. “I’m just getting changed. Dinner’s on the stove. Right with you, boys.”
A.J. blinked, looking at Ryder questioningly. Ryder snorted. “She’s from Georgia,” he explained, eyes twinkling. “Country girl all the way.”
That explained the accent. Texans were known for that honeyed Southern drawl, but A.J. had never heard an accent as thick as the one Lyss had. If someone tried to spell out the words the way she said them, it probably wouldn’t even look like English. It sounded like she said, “Eye-yam jayast gittin’ chayn-gid. Deenir’s own th’ stow-ve. Reyet wit’ ye, bow-ees.” Kind of funny, actually. And sexy as fuck. There was a deep throatiness to her voice, that sensual timbre you’d expect from a nine-hundred number call girl. He’d noticed it when he listened to Ryder talk to her on the phone earlier, but had assumed he’d misheard because his brain was still swimming in lust from that kiss.
Apparently not. Curious now, wondering what kind of woman went with that kind of voice, A.J. turned toward the hallway across the living room and waited.
And felt all the breath leave his lungs in a silent whoosh when Lyss finally appeared.
Holy God, she was incredible. More striking than pretty, she had high cheekbones, full lips, and a slightly up-turned nose. Long bangs framed a high, aristocratic forehead while mile after mile of wavy, dark-brown hair spilled across her shoulders and down her back. Her shoulders were bared by an emerald-green tank top, while her thighs were lovingly molded by a pair of dark-blue jeans. She wasn’t one of those tiny stick women, either. Lyss had meat on her bones, and she had to be at least five-foot-seven. Luscious curves met his gaze everywhere he looked, from full, high breasts to rounded hips. She wasn’t overweight, though. Just full-figured. And hot damn, what a gorgeous figure it was.
While A.J. just stared, Lyss gave him an obvious once-over, then met his eyes with a dazzling smile that took his breath away all over again. There was so much character in her face, so much life, it was almost painful to look at her. She was entrancing.
No wonder Ryder loved her. No wonder Ryder married her. Holy hell, it was taking everything A.J. had not to drop to his knees in open worship. This woman embodied every single one of his fantasies about women, from her height to her weight to the sheer vivacity in her eyes. She must have men drooling over her everywhere she went.
Guess I still like women, after all. And here I thought my problem was I’d fallen in love with Ryder all those years ago. But that wasn’t what killed my desire for Marian, was it? She just…wasn’t my type. Holy hell, how did I not see that sooner?
His mind going in a million different directions at once, A.J. missed seeing Lyss cross the living room. Next thing he knew, she was standing less than a foot away, looking up into his face with clear hazel eyes that pierced right through every wall he’d erected around his soul, seeing all of him—instantly. He’d never felt so bare in front of another person, and yet he didn’t feel threatened. On the contrary, Lyss made him feel…safe.
Which made no sense. At all.
“I’m so excited I finally get to meet you,” Lyss said softly. A.J. could do nothing but stare dumbly as she reached up and slid her index finger along his jawline. Electricity zapped from that one point of contact straight through his spine, setting off little shivers he had no hope of hiding. Lyss smirked knowingly and caressed him again. “I’ve been waiting for this, A.J. I’m so very, very glad you’re here right now.”
A.J. swallowed hard. “I’m happy to meet you, too, Lyss. Ryder has a lot of great things to say about you.”
She grinned at him, making A.J.’s heart do a funny little dance. “Is that right? Well, did he also tell you I make a mean chicken and dumplings? ‘Cause that’s what I’ve got for ya’ll tonight. You hungry?”
Not for food. But he nodded anyway. “Sure.”
Ryder, who had been silent throughout their meeting, suddenly came up behind A.J., pressing A.J.’s shoulder blades against that hard chest as he lightly circled A.J.’s waist with both hands. That deep, rumbly voice sounded right by A.J.’s ear. “I’m going to go change. You guys get acquainted. I’ll be right back.”
A.J. couldn’t think, let alone respond. Not when they were standing on either side of him, caging him between them. Ryder’s heat blanketed his back, his body a wall of solid muscle strong enough to hold A.J. up no matter how weak he got. Lyss’s inviting curves so tantalizingly close, her hand still caressing his jaw and neck, provided a temptation unlike anything A.J. had ever experienced before. Between the two of them, his mind just…stopped.
His mouth, unfortunately, didn’t.
“I kissed your husband,” A.J. gasped.
Mortified, he cringed, waiting for their anger.
But Lyss surprised him with a laugh. “I know,” she said with a cheeky little grin.
Ryder snorted. “He means today.”
A.J. sucked in a breath as Lyss glanced at Ryder over his shoulder, one eyebrow raised. “Oh?”
Ryder’s shoulders moved up and down in what must have been a shrug. “He was talking nonsense. It was the only way I could think of to shut him up.”
Mellanie: Thanks for joining me, Rhiannon! Can you tell us a bit about the premise for Saints United?
Rhiannon: Thanks for having me :)
Since the first two books in the series focused on submissives who had little or no experience with the lifestyle (and thus the stories were about introducing them to their true selves), I wanted this book to be more about the life of a submissive who knows exactly who and what he is. I wanted to show some of the darker aspects of D/s, while also highlighting the fact that pain and impact play are not necessary for living a D/s lifestyle. This book is more about the dynamics in a D/s menage relationship, with a Dom, a Switch, and a submissive male, all of whom are well-versed in the lifestyle itself and therefore are more focused on learning about their relationship with each other, rather than in learning each other’s kinks.
Saints United tells the story of a Dom/Switch couple, Ryder and Lyss St. Claire, who have always yearned for a true third to join their relationship. Enter Andre “AJ” Johannes. Sparks fly as the three discover their dynamic, and the story follows their journey toward forming a lasting bond with each other.
Mellanie: Tell us more about the characters. Who are Ryder, Lyss, and A.J.?
Rhiannon: Ryder is a southern boy from a blue-blood family—every male in his family tree has been a cop. He is 6’2″, with short brown hair, a trimmed beard and mustache, and beautiful amber-colored eyes. He’s also a rebel, with half-sleeve arm tattoos and full chest and back pieces. He is a Dom, but not your standard 24/7 variety like most seem to be (in romance novels, that is.) Ryder is a bedroom Dom, with clearly defined boundaries for when and how he shows his Dominant side. Outside the bedroom (or the dungeon playroom), he’s just your average guy, dealing with annoying bosses, crazy work schedules, and trying to support his family. Inside the bedroom, he turns on like a nine-thousand-watt light bulb, and his Dominant nature comes roaring to the fore. Overall, I feel as if Ryder is one of the more realistic characters I’ve ever written. He’s not some perfect Dom who was born knowing what to do and can’t help shoving his Dominant nature in the faces of everyone he comes across. He is a Dom more like the kind you find in the real world, who have real lives and real jobs and can’t afford to be Dominant all the time. His personality has an interesting dynamic, which I hope readers will relate to. He certainly rings true for me, since I know quite a few men just like him!
Lyss is a sweet, sassy Southern belle with roots in small-town Georgia. She has long, wavy brown hair and hazel eyes, along with a slightly up-turned nose and a curvaceous figure. She was a practicing Domme for years before she met Ryder and learned the true meaning of submission. Now she Switches for her husband, and she absolutely loves being his sub. But, there’s also something missing. Lyss didn’t stop being a Domme when she met Ryder, and those urges are still there. She misses having a submissive man at her beck and call, but also knows that Ryder can’t be that for her. For Lyss, this story is about the emotional journey, going from Domme to sub to Switch and back again, while also helping her husband claim the man he’s always wanted. She wants nothing more than to make Ryder happy, and if making him happy also gives her the opportunity to exercise her Domme side, all the better.
A.J. is half-white, half-latino, with blue eyes, black hair, and tanned skin. He’s a computer nerd, with several different college degrees and accolades under his belt. He’s not so good on the social skills, though, and his personal life has been a total disaster since he ran from his first and only true love, Ryder. His marriage fell apart six months ago, and now he’s looking for a new start in a new city. But, there’s a hell of a lot more to A.J. than meets the eye. He discovered BDSM through a friend, and he desperately yearns for a way into that lifestyle. Not just playing in a club, or submitting to random Dominants for a one-night stand. He knows exactly who he is and what he wants—and doesn’t want—-from the lifestyle, and he’s not willing to settle for meaningless kink just to scratch his itch. When A.J. discovers that Ryder and Lyss are living the lifestyle he so desperately wants, he truly believes that he’s finally found a way to be who he wants while also being with the two people he loves more than life itself. What could go wrong?
Mellanie: What’s the most important thing that you want readers to learn from this book?
Rhiannon: That pain and impact play are not essential to living a D/s lifestyle, for starters. So many people shy away from BDSM because they believe that bondage and masochism are required elements. They are not. You can live a D/s lifestyle without having to enjoy pain and bondage play of any kind. There’s so much more to it than those two things, yet so many believe that’s all there is. My hope is that readers will begin to see that there is no “one true way” and that D/s is always about what works for you, personally.
Mellanie: Is there anything else readers should know about this story?
Rhiannon: This story was very personal for me, in a lot of aspects. Some of the scenarios are straight out of my personal playbook :) I hope my readers will enjoy the story, but also realize that this book is just one author’s interpretation of the lifestyle. The way my characters practice is the same way that I practice, so it is very personal. But, that doesn’t mean that my way is “right” way, and I am not by any means trying to get anyone to believe that my way is the only way. I write my stories with the simple hope that people will read them and understand that there are many, many ways to live the lifestyle, and that just because you tend to see certain aspects of it more often than others doesn’t mean that there aren’t other way’s to practice. There is NO right way. Just YOUR way.
I grew up in cities all over the United States. My parents enjoyed moving for the sake of seeing new places, so whenever wanderlust seized them, off we went. Eventually, our travels landed me on the Texas coast, where I attended high school and college. And though I have moved away for the sake of work in the past, something always draws me back. I believe Texas will always be a major part of my life, no matter what city I live in. Plus, I'm a HUGE Texans fan, so I have to be able to watch my football games on TV.
That said, even though my feet may be planted in Texas soil, my head is always in the clouds. I am a dreamer, a thinker, a planner, and most of the time a doer. When not creating artwork for my professional clients, I am constantly doing art projects. If it can be made by hand, I've made it at least once. I make jewelry, clay figurines, sewing projects, paper crafts, scrapbooks---you name it. And I always have an art project in some stage of completion.
My husband and I have been together for over a decade, and we are the proud parents of a wonderful son who will probably rule the world one day---he's that smart. Our inquisitive dog, Intrepid Explorer Max Puppy, helps round out the family and adds much joy and laughter to our home. My son is a math and science genius, which makes no sense since both of his parents are wordsmiths and artists, but hey, we roll with it. When not stumping me with his knowledge of higher math (the kid isn't even in middle school, for crying out loud!) my son and my dog happily hunt frogs, kittens, and other nefarious creatures that inhabit our apartment complex.
My husband is an editor, a writer, and a consummate pro at keeping me and the family on track. If not for his balancing capabilities, I'm sure I'd have us eating boiled fish sticks every night. But as goofy as we all are, we do have fun together. I wouldn't change it for the world.
As to my writing credentials, I managed to win two Silver Awards on the National Scholastic Short Story Competition when I was in high school, as well as the prestigious Vanderbilt Award for Excellence in Creative Writing. Before that, I wrote my very first adventure series when I was eight years old, a rousing tale of talking animals and evil villains that may or may not have been based on the Redwall Series by Brian Jacques. But, as silly as those first efforts of mine were, those stories were what convinced me I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. Fate intervened for a time, so I grew into a different career that still let me nurture my creative side---graphic design. My very first novel was finally published in May of 2014, and it is still my single greatest achievement to date.
Best wishes, Rhiannon, and thanks to those who stopped by to check out my latest guest! Remember to comment by midnight (EST) on Wednesday, January 21, for a chance to win a copy of Saints United!
Romance...With A Kick!