Hi peeps! We have Kris Ripper stopping by with Zir new release One Life To Lose, we have a superb video post from Kris, a great excerpt and a brilliant giveaway, so check out the post and leave a comment to enter the giveaway! ❤ ~Pixie~
Cameron Rheingold is the kind of guy who takes a book to a bar. He’s a loner by nature, but he has to engage with the community to keep his movie theater business afloat. When two young men stay after a Cary Grant film showing to chat, Cameron thinks he might have made some new friends—but their interest is more than friendly.
Josh is charismatic, and every smile is a little bit seductive. Keith is sweet and kind, with a core of steel Cameron can sense even when Keith’s on his knees. Cameron is willing to be the couple’s kinky third, but that’s it. He refuses to risk complicating things with his growing devotion, even if being with Josh and Keith feels more right than anything else ever has.
When the three of them are attacked by the killer roaming La Vista, Cameron must decide what’s more important: pretending the assault never happened and he’s the same loner he used to be, or coming clean to Josh and Keith about how much he loves them, even if they can never return his feelings.
Hi, I’m Kris and welcome to the blog tour for One Life to Lose, book four in my awesome queer soap opera! Enjoy the blog tour!
Zane, Jaq, Jaq’s girlfriend Hannah. People I knew. Jaq and Zane were bickering as usual, and I scooted closer to Josh so they could all squeeze around the table.
“I’m just saying it’s too big a risk,” Jaq argued. “Philpott! Anderson Philpott, get your skinny ass over here!”
We made room for one more, and I smiled apologetically at Josh as I accidentally brushed against him.
“Hon, you can’t save people,” Hannah said. “Even canceling the Halloween event won’t save people.”
Zane, from Keith’s other side, leaned toward us. “Jaq’s on kind of a rampage, don’t mind her.”
“I’m not on a rampage, damn it. Philpott, back me up— Don’t you think the only thing that makes sense is to cancel the next Club Fred’s theme night, you know, since people keep getting murdered at them?”
“Technically they’re murdered after them.” Philpott nodded around at all of us, standing a little apart from our table. “And I assume unless Fredi closed the bar completely, the killer could still recruit a victim here.”
“Then why doesn’t she close the bar?”
“Oh my god,” Zane said. “We had this fight last time.”
“And someone fucking died.”
Hannah put a hand on Jaq’s arm. “Breathe, Jaq.”
“I’d close the bar if I owned it,” Josh said. “But I don’t think it would have any effect on what’s going on here. They, whoever they are, would still find someone to target, don’t you think?”
“So why would you close the bar?” Philpott asked, raising his eyebrows.
Zane added, “Close it for good, or just for that night?”
“Just for that night, since it’s already been promoted, though I guess I’d hate for Fredi to lose business on a Friday night. And I’d do it for my own peace of mind.” Josh gestured to the bar. “After Tom getting arrested, and information coming out that the victims were all here the night they died, Fredi looks older.”
Jaq nodded. “Like presidents at the end of their term, not the beginning. She looks grayer. Than she used to.”
“No doubt it’s taking a toll, but I’m not sure how even closing for the night would impact anything.” Philpott shrugged. “A serial killer doesn’t stop killing because their favorite hunting ground shuts down for a night. They simply hunt on a different night, or in a different place.”
“Plus,” Keith said, “someone needs to mention acceptance of risk. We’re sitting here now knowing that someone’s out there thinking about the next person they want to hurt.” He made a space-limited gesture at the table. “We’ve all knowingly accepted the risk, haven’t we?”
“Risk aware and consenting,” Philpott agreed. “I’m with Keith on this one. I think the only thing we can do is be vigilant and watch out for each other, and hopefully defeat this guy that way. It seems clear that people willingly accompany the killer at least part of the way, so the best thing is to work it from that angle.”
Jaq shook her head incredulously. “Are all of you nuts? If there’s a direct connection between theme nights and people dying, how can you sit here and say we keep having theme nights? I just— What else can we fucking do?”
I thought about something Ed had said to me the last time we talked about it. “But if they keep killing on theme nights, that might actually help catch the person. There are only so many people who come here, and most of them use credit cards.” Ed had told Fredi and Tom to pay attention to anyone using cash, though they said enough people did so they couldn’t remember them all. I decided not to share that with the group. Jaq might scream.
“That’s grim,” Josh murmured. Philpott nodded and seemed on the verge of speaking, then didn’t.
Jaq’s fingers drummed on the table. “So we’re bait. That’s the silver lining?”
“Well, we aren’t bait,” Hannah said. “You’re not going anywhere with anyone who isn’t me.”
“You know what I mean.”
We all knew what she meant. And for a moment we all looked around, thinking about that.
Josh shifted, slightly, not in a way that anyone would notice unless they were physically standing against him. I glanced down in time to watch him skim his fingers over Keith’s. “And on that note, we’re dancing. Anyone else?”
“You betcha.” Hannah finished off her wine. “C’mon, sugar.”
Jaq might have stayed longer, but Hannah tugged her, and she went. Josh and Keith waved good-bye, and I waved back.
“I’m dancing too,” Zane said. She eyed me, then Philpott. “Let me guess: that’s a no from both of you.”
“I don’t dance.” He grinned.
She rolled her eyes. “Cameron? Keep a girl company?”
“I’m about to head home.” Which was true. I mentally reminded my parents that they hadn’t mandated dancing, either. I’d been on the dance floor at Club Fred’s a few times, with various dates, but not generally if I could help it.
“I’ll have to dance alone, I guess! Bye, boys!” With a flip of her purple hair over the shaved part of her head, she was off.
“Are you really leaving?” Philpott asked. He wasn’t quite smirking. “Or can I ask you about your film festival?”
“Tell me you’re showing Notorious.”
“That’s how we’re closing out the series. You like Hitchcock?”
“I do like Hitchcock, but Notorious is my favorite Cary Grant. I think because his role could have been played by any leading man–type actor, but he brings it more depth than it had at the textual level.”
“I completely agree. You could plug in any man and Ingrid Bergman would still have sailed through the story. But the way he plays passionate and snubbed and aloof all at once is perfect.”
“I’ve never seen it on the big screen, so I can’t wait.” He drained his beer. “See you around, Cameron.”
He turned away and a young man I didn’t recognize sidled up to him. Both of them smiled, familiarly. I’d never seen Philpott with anyone, though I’d always assumed he was gay, or bi, or queer in that way people are now when they don’t define themselves. I sometimes wish I’d been slightly less certain so early on, that I’d embraced a wider idea of who I could be.
But perhaps I would have always ended up the way I ended up.
I walked out of Club Fred’s and shivered in the chill, though not exclusively because of it. Five people had died. I knew this only because I paid a very small amount of attention. You didn’t have to be that up on current events to know the basic facts, which were that on five separate occasions, over the last eight months, Club Fred’s held theme nights that ended in deaths.
Five people. I hadn’t known any of them, really, but I’d bought a young man a drink on his birthday only to discover weeks later that he’d been killed that night. I couldn’t grieve him; I hadn’t known him. But I stood on the sidewalk, flipping my collar up against the wind, and thought about that night, and that boy, who’d left by this exact door in the company of someone who had betrayed his trust so fundamentally that he had not survived it.
I went home, turning my mind to Saturday. North by Northwest would be fun, and this time I would not drop my index cards.
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Kris Ripper lives in the great state of California and hails from the San Francisco Bay Area. Kris shares a converted garage with a toddler, can do two pull-ups in a row, and can write backwards. (No, really.) Kris is genderqueer and prefers the z-based pronouns because they’re freaking sweet. Ze has been writing fiction since ze learned how to write, and boring zir stuffed animals with stories long before that.
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