Hi guys, we have Kim Fielding popping in today with her new release Love is Heartless, we have a fantastic guest post, a great excerpt and a brilliant giveaway, so check out the post and click that giveaway link! ❤ ~Pixie~
Love is Heartless
Small but mighty—that could be Detective Nevin Ng’s motto. Now a dedicated member of the Portland Police Bureau, he didn’t let a tough start in life stop him from protecting those in need. He doesn’t take crap from anyone, and he doesn’t do relationships. Until he responds to the severe beating of a senior citizen and meets the victim’s wealthy, bow-tied landlord.
Property manager and developer Colin Westwood grew up with all the things Nevin never had, like plenty of money and a supportive, loving family. Too supportive, perhaps, since his childhood illness has left his parents unwilling to admit he’s a strong, grown man. Colin does do relationships, but they never work out. Now he’s thinking maybe he won’t just go with the flow. Maybe it’s time to try something more exciting. But being a witness to a terrible crime—or two—was more than he bargained for.
Despite their differences, Colin and Nevin discover that the sparks fly when they’re together. But sparks are short-lived, dampened by the advent of brutal crimes, and Colin and Nevin have seemingly little in common. The question is whether they have the heart to build something lasting.
Appropriate Use of Expletives
by Kim Fielding!
One afternoon when my older daughter was three, I picked her up from daycare. The carers informed me that she’d spent nap time that day dancing around and singing, “Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck.” I tried to explain that she hadn’t learned the word from me, but I’m sure they didn’t believe me.
The truth is, I swear sparingly. Not because I think there’s anything wrong with cussing but because expletives are strong words. Their value is diminished if you use them all the time. It would be like smothering everything you ate in hot sauce.
I tell my kids that we need to make appropriate use of expletives. Swear away—but do so only when your language needs a shot of spice. Recently, for example, that same kid, who’s now 17, got rear-ended while driving to school. The guy in front of her slammed on his brakes. So did my daughter, who stopped in time. But the lady behind her, who apparently thought rush hour in the rain was a good time to look at her phone, did not stop in time. This is a situation in which expletives are appropriate. (Nobody was hurt, by the way, and our car wasn’t damaged.)
My kids and husband know that when I swear, I am genuinely pissed off and they had better batten down the hatches. When I drop an F-bomb into a college lecture—something I do about once per year—even the freshmen drowsing in the back row wake up pronto. When something in life goes royally wrong and I let loose with a blasphemy or two, I feel a bit better. This is the power of expletives used judiciously.
But not everyone subscribes to this philosophy. Nevin Ng, for example—one of the protagonists in Love Is Heartless—swears a lot. In the space of 83,000 words, he gives 257 fucks. And that doesn’t even count some of his more creative profanities. He swears so much that when I was writing the book, I referred often to The Little Red Book of Very Dirty Words. This made Nevin a lot of fun to write. Especially because his love interest, Colin Westwood, is more likely to gosh and darn than curse. Nevin’s vocabulary reflects his prickly personality as well as his profession. He’s a cop, and they tend to have colorful vocabularies. Once you get past all the cussing, though, Nevin has a pretty mushy center—not that he’d ever admit it.
What’s your philosophy about swearing? Do you have some favorite terms?
CLUTCHING A cardboard coffee cup, Nevin stood on the small porch and watched the rain. Welcome to June in Oregon. A uniformed officer cut across the tidy front lawn and clomped up the stairs. He would have gone tromping right inside if Nevin hadn’t stopped him with an upraised hand.
“Wipe your feet first, fuckwad.”
The guy opened his mouth as if to protest but then clearly thought better of it and carefully scraped his shoes on the doormat.
“You gorillas just about done in there?” Nevin asked.
The uniformed officers were used to the way Nevin addressed them. Hell, they could treat uniforms the same way if they ever managed to move up the ranks.
This one shook his head. “We’re gonna be a while.”
“Fuck. Well, send out the landlord. I want to chat with him.”
The landlord emerged a minute or two later, his denim-blue eyes wide in his pale face. He’d clearly been running his fingers through his hair, working the strands free of product and into a wavy, sand-colored tangle. He tugged at his polka-dot bow tie, which was a bit crooked. “You wanted to talk to me, Officer?”
“Detective. Nevin Ng. And yeah.”
“Colin Westwood.” The landlord held out a neatly manicured hand, which Nevin shook. Westwood’s palm felt clammy, a good match for his green-tinged pallor. He looked like the type who’d shriek if he found a spider in his bathtub, but Nevin had to give him at least some credit. According to the first officers on the scene, Westwood had waited until emergency personnel arrived before rushing outside to puke into the rhododendrons. It was good of him to tend to the victim and not foul the crime scene.
The porch was bare except for the mat and a pair of empty flowerpots, and Nevin was tired of standing. “Follow me.” He led the way down the sidewalk to his car.
Despite the seriousness of the situation, Westwood smiled. “I didn’t realize the Portland Police Bureau got so creative with its cop cars.”
Nevin stroked the hood, disrupting some of the raindrops that glistened like jewels. “She’s all mine. A 1967 with a 400 V-8 and 335 horses under her hood.”
“Factory original color. Plum mist. Her name’s Julie.”
Westwood blinked. “Why Julie?”
“Name of the first girl I fucked. Get inside before we drown.” Nevin followed his own advice, slipping into the comfortable driver’s seat. He didn’t bother to tell Westwood that his previous car—a far less showy but perfectly serviceable ’08 Camaro—had been named Luis, the first boy Nevin had fucked.
After Westwood sat down in the passenger seat and closed the door, he stroked the wood-covered console between them. “Is the interior original too?”
“Some of it. The leather’s not a stock color, but I like charcoal gray. Most of the rest is restored or replaced to factory specs.”
“Wow. I, uh, don’t know anything about cars.”
That didn’t surprise Nevin. That soulless BMW parked in the driveway undoubtedly belonged to Colin. “I didn’t bring you in to talk about cars. Tell me what happened here today, Mr. Westwood.”
“Colin. And I already told—”
“Okay.” Colin gave a shaky sigh. “I was coming over to take a look at the toilet. Mrs. Ruskin called yesterday and said it was broken.”
“It took you a day to fix a little old lady’s toilet?”
Colin rolled his eyes. “It was in the guest bath—she has another. And anyway, she calls just about every week to get me to repair something. It’s never a big deal. Last week she said her window was broken, but it turned out the cord for the blinds was so tangled she couldn’t reach it. She’s really just looking for a little company.”
“A niece, but she’s in, um, Delaware.”
Nevin pulled a notebook and pen from his pocket, opened to a fresh page, and scribbled a few words. “Somebody’s going to have to notify the niece.”
“I already did. Mrs. Ruskin gave me her contact info years ago.”
“I’ll need that name and number.”
Colin patted his shirt pocket and then frowned. “Darn. I left my phone inside.” He reached for the car door, but Nevin grabbed his arm.
“Not yet,” Nevin said. “You can get it later. The niece is it?”
“Pretty much. Mrs. Ruskin has a few friends, but they’re all around her age. Most of them don’t drive anymore, so they don’t see each other much. I’ve been telling her she should consider moving into one of those assisted living places.”
“You want to get rid of her so you can jack the rent. Or tear the place down and cram in a couple of fucking town houses.”
Colin had one of those faces that broadcasted every emotion, and now he looked injured. “No. I thought she’d be less lonely. And safer.”
Nevin jumped on that immediately. “You knew she was in danger?”
“Not from… this.” Colin shuddered. “Just, at her age, she could fall or something.”
In his lap, Colin’s hands squeezed together tightly enough to turn the knuckles white, and he gave Nevin a beseeching look. “Is she going to be okay, Detective Ng?”
Something inside Nevin softened at the man’s obvious distress. “Nevin. And I don’t know.” That stretched the truth. Although Nevin hadn’t arrived at the scene until after the ambulance took Mrs. Ruskin away, he’d seen the faces of the first responders, and he didn’t think the lady was ever going to return to see the mud tracked into her house by careless cops. Not that it meant the assholes shouldn’t stop to wipe their goddamn feet.
Colin exhaled loudly. “She’s a nice lady. I come over to fix things that don’t really need fixing, and I’m pretty sure she schedules her housecleaning around me, so her place will be tidy when I arrive. We drink tea. We talk about movies and theater, mostly. She used to be a makeup artist. She met a lot of famous people.” He gave a weak smile.
Rain traced complex patterns on the windshield and drummed on the roof, making Nevin drowsy. He would need a good run when he was done here. Maybe he’d call Jeremy and see if he was up to it. Jeremy the brawny outdoorsman didn’t care about the weather. Hell, he was a tall enough guy he probably produced his own microclimate.
“So you came to fix Mrs. Ruskin’s toilet and fangirl over Rodgers and Hammerstein. What happened when you got here?”
“The front door was unlocked. She does that when she knows I’m coming. Saves her from having to get up if she’s comfortable in the living room. It’s… it’s hard for her to stand up, sometimes.” He swallowed audibly.
“So you just stepped inside?”
“I rang the doorbell first. I always do, so she knows I’m there. Then… I saw her.” His face turned more pallid.
“You better not barf in my car!”
Kim Fielding is the bestselling author of numerous m/m romance novels, novellas, and short stories. Like Kim herself, her work is eclectic, spanning genres such as contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and historical. Her stories are set in alternate worlds, in 15th century Bosnia, in modern-day Oregon. Her heroes are hipster architect werewolves, housekeepers, maimed giants, and conflicted graduate students. They’re usually flawed, they often encounter terrible obstacles, but they always find love.
After having migrated back and forth across the western two-thirds of the United States, Kim calls the boring part of California home. She lives there with her husband, her two daughters, and her day job as a university professor, but escapes as often as possible via car, train, plane, or boat. This may explain why her characters often seem to be in transit as well. She dreams of traveling and writing full-time.