Hey y’all, today I have a very special guest. Avril Ashton has been one of my critique partners for years. One of the really awesome things about being a critique partner to talented writers is being able to read their work before anyone else does. And I can honestly say Avril’s stories do not disappoint. Her latest story, Sinner, Savior is amazing. And here she is, Avril!
There’s this thing that happens to me when I’m writing; every song I hear somehow fits into the story. Whatever emotion the singer is trying to convey somehow resonates with that particular set of characters, with the specific storyline.
The lovely Danica blackmailed me into talking about the top ten songs on my Sinner, Savior playlist (which includes over fifty sounds, by the way). I browsed the entire list and picked my faves, which turned out to be more like fifteen give or take a few, then made those into a playlist. Yes, I am listening to them as I type.
First up, and really the song that set the tone for the entire book is John Mayer’s Gravity. Love. That. Song. Pablo goes through some really emotional ish and every time I had to go there with him, every time we had to take that inevitable journey to the dark side, I’d put Gravity on repeat. In one particular scene that involves a hospital, I listened to it for eight hours straight.
In one heated scene where Dev is pleading for Pablo to give him a chance—give them a chance— Demi Lovato’s Give Your Heart a Break just worked. Dev lays himself bare for Pablo, putting all he feels and all he wants on the table and he asks Pablo to do the same. It’s not an easy thing to do under any circumstance and more than once I felt like a true voyeur, intruding on such intensely private moments.
Trey Songz Heart Attack and Usher’s Climax spoke to the push and pull theme going on in Sinner, Savior. The pain and the pleasure so tightly entwined that they appear to be one and the same. Sometimes they were. The joys. The highs. The lows. And all the in-betweens. Dev wants—knows—he should go, he should leave. Pablo realizes the same, but both men find they need each other. They need to stay. Dealing with that is never a cut and dry situation.
Rascal Flatts. Man, love those guys. I have like five or six of their songs on this playlist, but let’s talk about I Melt and Like I am. I listened to those while In Pablo’s POV as he interacts with Dev. With his heart still broken and bloodied from losing Angelo, Pablo doesn’t get just how much Dev cares. Or why Dev cares. Pablo doesn’t see what Dev sees in him, why Dev could think of giving up his life to be with him. Again, it’s hard for him to accept. With I Melt, well, I guess this says it all: “When you look at me like that…” Pablo moved inside him, slow and steady. “Everything you feel is in your eyes, and I can’t—I can’t look away.”
Have you heard of The Weeknd? No? Go look him up on YouTube. That man’s voice is sex, sex flavoured with brown liquor and weed. Just…decadent. And dirty at the same time. Wicked Games, High For This, The Zone, The Morning, What You Need. Those are what I listened to while writing the sex. Familiarize yourself with The Weeknd.
Special mention goes to Beyonce’s 1+1. I turned it on when the guys had their last bit of lovemaking before the Black Moment, before Dev walked out of Pablo’s life. I turned on 1+1 and completely lost myself. I started typing then looked up hours later with no idea what I wrote or what transpired between then, but that song was on and the men had had their mind-blowing sex.
Music is part of my writing staple; I need my computer, coffee and music. It’s just not the same if I have no music. Just not.
Here’s some more songs; still not the complete list 😉
- 5 O’Clock by T-Pain, Wiz Khalifa and Lily Allen
- Alone by Heart
- And Our Feelings by Babyface
- Angels Cry by Mariah Carey
- Arms by Christina Perry
- Bad Habits by Maxwell
- Faster by Matt Nathanson
- Give in to Me Leighton Meester and Garret Hedlund
- Kissed You by Gloriana
- Half of my Heart by John Mayer
- Heartbeat by The Fray
- It’s Time to Come Home by Matchbox Twenty
- It’s A Pity by Tanya Stevens (Reggae/Dancehall)
- Longing For by Jah Cure (Reggae/Dancehall)
- Love is by Jah Cure (Reggae/Dancehall)
- Let Me Go by 3 Doors Down
- Madness by Muse
- Over You by Graffity6
- Action by Terror Fabulous and Nadine Sutherland (Reggae/Dancehall)
- Undone by Hailey Reinhart
Sinner or Savior? Each man has a choice to make. It should be simple. It never is.
Gun runner Pablo Castillo has cemented his reputation in the gun trade as callous and cold-hearted. Personal feelings no longer matter, not with everyone out to make him a sacrifice on their way to the top. He remains untouchable, until a meeting with a rival gang leader and a new deal brings him face-to-face with temptation.
Dev is the right hand to a sadistic bastard out for blood and glory. He hides his true feelings of distaste for his boss, not the least of his many secrets. He could’ve sworn those secrets were safe, but after meeting Pablo he’s not so sure. The two men come together in a heated affair neither can deny, battling themselves, each other and a deadly enemy bent on spilling blood. Pablo and Dev will have to stick together or walk away from a love neither man expected to find. The choice should be simple. It never is.
At Ellora’s Cave: http://bit.ly/RDZ4wm
Kissing Dev had to be one of his biggest mistakes.
Pablo stared unseeing out the window of his office. The intoxicating scent of a welcome summer rain filled the air, but he couldn’t enjoy it.
He was back on that boat, under Dev, and loving every second of the other man’s heavy weight. Every swipe of his tongue. Nothing good could come of his dallying with one of York’s men, not when Pablo had that bastard in his crosshairs for trying to take him out.
York had to be taught a lesson—there were some people in this world you fucked with and some you don’t.
Pablo resided squarely in the don’t column.
But Dev. That kiss. It’d been two days and he sure as hell couldn’t forget it, not the taste of Dev or the scent of him.
I need to get laid.
His neglected libido had to be the only explanation for his acting like a lovesick fool. For allowing himself to be taken down by the enemy. Because Dev was the enemy, those firm lips and talented tongue notwithstanding.
Pablo shifted in his chair to ease the pressure in his groin. He’d gone to great lengths to safeguard himself and to get where he was, a little thing like a hard-on for one of York’s men sure as fuck wasn’t allowed to ruin that.
Not by a long shot.
He’d settle some things with his men and finally take that long-neglected trip to Philly to see Levi, get his dick spit-shined and a tight hole to sink into. He had no doubts by the time he got back to Brooklyn, he’d have gotten over wanting to fuck pretty boy Dev.
A knock sounded on the door and he looked up as Mateo and Freddo entered.
“Any news?” He lifted an eyebrow as the men sat on the couch opposite him.
Mateo spoke first, his dark-brown hair falling into his eyes when he nodded. “We think it’s him, but we still can’t be one hundred percent sure. He covers his tracks well.”
Freddo grunted in agreement. “Yeah, slippery bastard.”
“Has to be him.” Pablo got up and began pacing. “He’s stayed pretty much under our radar, but his choice of guns always gave him away.” He’d been on a personal quest to find his mother’s murderer for years and after all the frustration and anger, after debating whether to give up or not, he may have lucked out. He’d stake his life that York’s new client was the man he’d been searching for.
Mateo looked up at him. “Sounds like he’s preparing for something big though, with that amount of ammo. And the AR-15s, man…”
“Yeah.” Pablo was intimately familiar with the assault rifles and the damage they did. “We need to find him.”
“But how?” Freddo asked. “Did you get anything from York’s man the other day?”
Pablo shrugged. “Nothing useful, but I did promise to kill him if he didn’t find out the client’s identity.”
“That could work.” Freddo chuckled and Mateo joined in.
“It sure could.” Pablo sat back down at his desk. “Keep asking around, see if this mysterious client has approached anyone else to act as go-between for guns.” He fired up his computer then looked over his shoulder. “I’m leaving for Philly in a few hours, gotta see a man about some stuff.”
“Need some men?”
“Just one,” he answered Mateo. “No big entourage. We’re trying for a quick in and out.” In more ways than one. “By the way, who’s on York’s man, Dev?”
“Marcus and Fitch,” Freddo said. “They already checked in for the day, said nothing’s moving.”
Pablo turned back to the computer. “I want to know the minute anything does move, got it?”
A chorus of “got it, boss” rang out as the men left the room and closed the door behind them. Pablo grimaced, swallowing the urge to yell at them for directly disobeying his orders and calling him boss. That word sat heavily on his chest as he composed an email, reaching out for help.
He needed answers and in order to do that he had to resurrect ghosts.
He hurriedly sent the email off, fingertips ice cold, and stared at the tiny, translucent trails of water as they crawled along the window pane. He’d be the first to acknowledge he had a shitload of demons waiting to be exorcised, but he’d start with the easiest.
Pretty boy Dev.
A quick fuck from the very talented Levi would remove any lingering traces of Dev from Pablo’s skin and head. He was sure of it.
Many hours later, balls wrung dry, Levi’s scratches still raw on his skin, Pablo stood under a scalding shower in a nondescript Philadelphia hotel, Dev’s face dancing behind his closed eyes, regretting that promise.
l always wanted to have a sexy bio, one to reflect who I am, but after drawing a blank, l could only come up with: I eat cake and I read books…ooh, and I write ‘em too. No one liked it and after massive peer-pressure and pouting, I managed something more…suitable?
A Caribbean transplant, Avril now lives in Brooklyn, N.Y with a tolerant Spousal Equivalent. Together they raise an eccentric daughter who loves reading and school (not so much school anymore). Avril’s earliest memories of reading revolve around discussing plot points of The Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys with an equally book-minded mother
Always in love with the written word, Avril finally decided to do the writing in August of ’09 and never looked back. Spicy love scenes, delicious heroes, and wicked women burn up the pages of Avril’s stories, but there’ll always be a happy ending; Av remains a believer of love in all its forms.
Friend Avril on: http://www.facebook.com/writeravrilashton