Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Cover Artist: LC Chase
Publication date: September 18, 2017
Length: 268 pages
Jack Mason—graphic designer and unrepentant player—has never been interested in monogamy. He certainly isn’t looking for romance when he meets Professor Colin Sloan.
Newly single and not looking for anything serious, Colin is intrigued by Jack’s offer of a physical affair with no strings attached. Becoming friends wasn’t part of the plan, but as accidents go, this one’s pretty great.
Peter Mason is Jack’s identical twin. In a long-term relationship himself, Peter tells no one that he’s falling for his brother’s newest favorite, even as the secret creates tension with his girlfriend.
When Peter’s relationship falls apart, he seduces Colin, fully expecting Jack to forgive his transgression. But Jack is keeping secrets too—he hasn't told even Colin that he’s fallen in love. Suddenly the twins are feuding, and Colin is caught in the middle, blindsided by the revelation that he doesn’t want to choose between them.
Now all three must find a way to share, or they’ll tear each other apart.
Hi everybody! I'm Yolande Kleinn, and I'm thrilled to welcome you to the Covet blog tour. I'm giddy to be here myself, and I hope you're looking forward to my kinky contemporary M/M/M love story. I had a terrific time writing this book—getting to know Jack and Colin and Peter—and I can't wait for you to meet them too. Follow along for the chance to win a $30 Riptide Publishing gift card!
The Selby University donors’ banquet was an expensive affair, and one Jack wouldn’t attend if the school didn’t insist on trotting out a sampling of employees to charm the guests. He didn’t mind the task—he liked people and knew how to play nice with the university’s snootier patrons—but he also made a point of caring only so much about dressing for the part. Jack didn’t own a tuxedo, and he hadn’t rented one for the occasion.
He’d polished up some just the same, tied back his sun-bleached hair long overdue for a trim. He wore no tie. In the sea of suit coats and dress shoes, Jack cut an informal figure.
The contrast was especially stark at the moment. Peter stood beside him in a black tux, hair styled to irritating perfection. Side by side like this, they made a surreal pair. The family resemblance was impossible to mistake considering Peter was not only Jack’s brother, but his identical twin.
“Mo’s gonna kill you if you don’t shake some hands.” Jack nudged Peter with an elbow. He’d glimpsed Maureen a handful of times since she and Peter had first come through the door. Unlike Peter, who’d been hiding behind Jack all night, Mo was greeting and chatting her way through the room. Networking, as this event required.
Peter never had made any secret of how much he hated networking.
The glare he turned on Jack now was insincere, and Jack gave a remorseless grin in reply. He was selfish enough to appreciate his brother’s company, even if it meant distracting Peter from more professional obligations. Maureen and Peter weren’t here on behalf of the university, but as official guests, invited thanks to the donations Peter made to his alma mater every year. But for a pair of lawyers, an event like this wasn’t merely a social occasion, and Peter would have to do his part soon enough.
Peter’s resigned expression said he was painfully aware of his obligations, but instead of acknowledging Jack’s ribbing, he took a sip of champagne and let his gaze wander the crowd.
Brenner Memorial Banquet Hall was a truly massive room, all high ceilings and arched doors, and tonight it was filled to capacity. From here, on the top floor of the university’s tallest building, Jack could see the spire that topped the library’s clock tower. Spire and roof were backlit by early sunset, silhouetted by scattered clouds threatening snow. Spring had barely arrived, and Jack was confident the weather would take at least one more icy turn before the ground really started to thaw.
Across the room, Jack spotted a familiar face amid a cluster of faculty near the enormous windows. Jack sipped his drink to hide a pleased smile, taking in the real reason he didn’t mind attending this puffed-up shindig.
“Didn’t you tell me you’ve got a new crush attending this thing?” Peter’s question sounded too pointed to be idle curiosity. When Jack turned, he found his brother watching him closely. Peter’s expression was serious, but his eyes were bright.
“He’s not a crush,” Jack retorted without rancor. “He’s just a guy I’d like to get to know a little better.”
“A little more intimately, you mean.”
“That too.” Jack’s gaze cut away from Peter, back toward the windows and the object of his fascinated attention. “That’s him. The professor on the left. Curly hair, green tie.”
Jack probably didn’t need to specify. There was only one real looker in that gaggle, distractingly handsome amid an unassuming crowd. The professor was taller than the others—though not taller than Jack—thin as a cornstalk and smiling blandly. His suit looked expensive, but it sat a little too loose across narrow shoulders. His mess of curly hair gave an air of contained chaos, and even from halfway across the room, there was no missing the sharp intelligence in his eyes.
Even if Jack hadn’t already set his sights, he would have found himself helplessly charmed by the view. As it was, his blood heated, his imagination conjuring a dozen delicious images of things they could do together in private.
“The tall one?” Peter checked. “That’s the guy you’ve been yammering about for the past two weeks?”
Jack couldn’t account for the skepticism in his brother’s voice.
“Don’t you like him?” Jack’s tone, already low, dropped even quieter as he turned his head to murmur in Peter’s ear. “Tell me you wouldn’t fuck him, given the chance.” Peter’s skin visibly flushed, all the agreement necessary. Not that Peter would ever pursue someone when he was in a committed relationship—Jack didn’t have to worry about competition—but there was no point denying an obvious truth.
Despite the warmth written across his face, Peter’s voice stayed light and teasing. “Jack. You know I love you. And it genuinely hurts me to tell you this, but . . .” Peter’s hand clasped Jack’s shoulder, and he leaned conspiratorially close. “He is completely out of your league. He’s gorgeous, he stands like a gentleman, and I’d bet a hard grand he’s too smart for you.”
Jack grunted in protest and glared at Peter sidelong. “I happen to like smart men.”
“But you don’t fuck them,” Peter pointed out, infuriatingly correct. Jack didn’t generally pursue men who could clobber him in a challenge of wits. When Jack didn’t immediately answer, Peter added, “Besides, he’s not your usual type. What’s the deal?”
Peter was right about this too. Jack normally went in for broad shoulders and stocky muscles. Tall and lean weren’t his usual preference.
“It’s the curls.” Jack smirked. “They make him look boyish and charming.”
“They make him look like a nutty professor.” Peter snorted. “But a gorgeous one, anyway. What’s his name?”
“Colin Sloan.” Just saying the name made Jack grin. There was nothing subtle in the way he was staring across the room, but so far no one else had taken notice. Outside, the sky had gone dark purple, barely visible through the glass. “We’ve only met once, and it barely counts. He’s an English professor, teaches clear across campus. You can imagine how hard it is for our paths to cross casually.” Jack didn’t interact much with university faculty. His own gig with the marketing department kept him corralled pretty tightly to his team and office.
“And you’re sure he’s interested in men?”
“Not a clue.” Jack’s grin widened into a sharp-edged thing. “But I plan to find out.”
“Be honest with him.”
Jack turned and blinked at his brother, genuinely surprised at the rebuke. “I’m always honest.” It wasn’t strictly true—and Peter knew it better than most—but Jack still felt the need to protest.
“Sometimes you’re honest. Sometimes you’re a dick.” Fondness softened the censure. “Be honest with this one. He looks like a nice guy.”
Jack grunted noncommittally, but he would almost certainly heed Peter’s warning. He didn’t have to be an asshole to successfully seduce a college professor.
“What’s your move, then?” Peter’s voice fell low beneath the murmur of surrounding conversation. “You can’t play the tortured artist card if you’re going to be up front with him.”
Jack shook his head. “I couldn’t pull it off anyway. We’ve already been introduced.” Given Jack’s occupation—graphic designer with a fancy art degree, overqualified for his position in the marketing department—an air of shadowed moodiness had served him well in the past. But he had no intention of manipulating Colin that way. Even if he had, it wouldn’t work. Colin was too smart. “He knows I’m on the marketing team, and I’m sure he can tell there’s not a tortured bone in my body.”
“Well.” Peter took a thoughtful sip of expensive champagne. “Sounds like a challenge.”
“You don’t have to sound so sure I’ll fail.”
The look Peter gave him was wry and eloquent, as good as words actually spoken. The narrowed eyes, the tic at the corner of his mouth, the barest tilting of his head—all conveyed that no, he didn’t think Jack would fail. They were in perfect agreement, really. If Colin was interested in men, he would accept Jack’s invitation. Not just because of the strong jaw and good looks Jack brought to the table, but because of his stubborn charm. Jack was good with people. Accustomed to getting what he wanted, but willing to back off without rankling at rejection. That confidence carried him into a lot of beds.
Jack arched his eyebrows, and Peter rolled his eyes, exasperated.
“What are you monsters plotting?”
Jack glanced past his brother and saw Maureen approach. Peter’s arm rose immediately, and dropped across Mo’s shoulders as she tucked herself against his side. The two made an alarmingly attractive couple, Peter with his broad shoulders and perfect tux, Mo with her sleek dress and measured smile. Her jumble of curls had been twisted back from her face, leaving the dark line of her jaw bare.
Peter turned and dropped a kiss on his girlfriend’s upturned cheek. “Nothing.”
“Why don’t I believe you?” she retorted, but there was unmistakable affection beneath her dry tone. Jack couldn’t help smiling at the easy way they shared each other’s space. Of all the people his brother had dated, Jack liked Maureen the best.
Instead of answering, Peter brushed his thumb over Mo’s bare shoulder and asked, “Is it time for me to step up?”
She smiled at him, but it was a pointed expression. “There’s a swarm by the refreshments table you should talk to. They’ve got something to do with Third National. I’ll introduce you.”
“She’s right.” Jack’s glass was empty, and he gave it to a passing server, then plucked the unfinished drink from Peter’s hand. “You should go schmooze. I’m sure I can stay out of trouble without you peering over my shoulder all night.”
Peter and Mo give him matching dubious looks, then exchanged an indecipherable glance of their own. A nod from Mo, a clasp of Peter’s hand at Jack’s shoulder, and then they disappeared into the crowd arm in arm.
Jack knew he should do his own circuit of the room now that he was alone. In theory, he was here to sweet-talk donors on behalf of the school. Instead he headed for the wall of windows with single-minded purpose, one aim outshining all others.
By the time he reached the darkening windows, Colin was standing flanked by only two other professors. Jack didn’t recognize either one of them, but as he drew near the cluster, he discovered they sounded exactly as boring as they looked. They were arguing about something that flew straight over Jack’s head—statistics, maybe?—and from the strained politeness written across Colin’s face, he was in exactly the same boat with no way to extricate himself.
So far Jack’s approach had gone unnoticed, and he smiled a small, private smile. Politeness wasn’t something he worried about much himself.
Gratitude broke through the trapped look on Colin’s face even before he turned. When his eyes met Jack’s, a different expression rose, a hint of recognition.
Jack didn’t wait for Colin to try—and possibly fail—to remember his name. He nodded briefly to the other two men, then extended a hand into the startled quiet. “Hi, I’m sorry to interrupt. Jack Mason. We met at the staff wellness workshop.” He’d been irritated at the time, having to attend that joke of an event, but his irritation had since faded. It hadn’t been a complete waste if it’d put him on course to make Colin Sloan’s acquaintance.
The recognition on Colin’s face brightened into a pleased smile, and he shook Jack’s hand. “Of course. You work in marketing. The graphic design team?”
“That’s me.” Jack lingered a moment too long over the handshake. By the time he grudgingly released Colin’s hand, the two other men had taken their argument elsewhere, leaving Jack and Colin in relative solitude. “It’s good to meet you properly, Professor.”
“Please, call me Colin.” Colin’s eyes narrowed, an assessing look full of good humor. “How did they con you into attending this thing?”
“The marketing department always sends at least one sacrificial lamb. I drew the short straw.” Jack could usually deal—he’d rubbed his share of elbows for his brother’s sake over the years—and tonight he had more motivation than ever. Thanks to Tasha’s intel about the faculty attendees, Jack had volunteered before the squabbling could start.
“Well. Cheers.” Colin raised his glass in a sardonic toast. “I hope the company’s not too dry.”
Jack laughed, light and careless. “Hell no. The company is perfect.” He let the words hang meaningfully in the air for several seconds, watching Colin’s face. He smiled when faint confusion gave way to a blush as Colin registered the compliment. Then, before the moment could turn awkward, Jack said, “What about you? How did you get wrangled into this if you hate these things so much?” Colin hadn’t actually used the word hate, but he made it easy to read between the lines.
Now, Jack turned his gaze across the banquet hall. He scanned the room, deliberately giving Colin space to breathe, subtly lightening the atmosphere. He knew better than to come on too strong. The last thing he wanted was to make Colin uncomfortable.
Colin sighed and fidgeted with the glass in his hand. “I lost a bet.”
Jack’s attention snapped sharply back, and he stared for a moment before realizing Colin wasn’t joking. A belated huff of laughter escaped him, warming his chest.
Colin’s expression turned wry, a little bit sheepish, and he shrugged. Amusement shone in his eyes.
“You should tell me about it sometime,” Jack said. “Over coffee. Next Tuesday?”
Colin blinked, obviously startled. Discreet as the proposition was, Jack still wondered for a moment if it was too much. He could tell easily enough that he hadn’t offended Colin, but there was plenty of space for refusal between offense and pleasure.
“All right,” Colin said at last. “Tuesday.”
Jack hid a hunter’s grin behind a sip of champagne.
About the Author
Yolande Kleinn may be a shameless dreamer and a stubborn optimist, but she is also a proud purveyor of erotic romance. Excitable, fastidious, and a little eclectic, she spends every spare moment as far away from reality as possible.
A Minnesotan by both heart and geography, Yolande has plenty of experience weathering tough winters. Her favorite method: distracting herself with warm beverages and even warmer stories. A night spent with a good book is heaven. A morning free to write, with a hot cup of coffee close at hand, is even better.
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To celebrate the release of Covet, one lucky winner will receive a $30 Riptide gift card! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on September 23, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!