Thursday, March 26, 2020

#NewRelease ~ Changes Going On by Kaje Harper




 


Hi folks, and thanks, Crystal, for the invitation to post here. I'm Kaje Harper, and today is the release day for my newest book— my M/M/M mystery story Changes Going On which is the sequel to Changes Coming Down.

In the first book, we meet retired Marine and county sheriff Casey Barlow, as he tries to solve a murder that hits close to home for one of his two boyfriends. Will Rice is the foreman on a successful Kansas ranch, but losing the old couple who owned the spread is like losing his parents. He turns to Casey, trusting him to figure out what happened, and to Scott Edison, the third in their trio. Scott is a hockey player about to be called up to the NHL, if his rehabbed knee holds together. He tries to be there for his two men in this difficult time, but he doesn't dare come out now, when the career he's worked so hard for is almost within reach.

Book one follows this deeply-closeted trio, as events and pressures threaten to split their closet at the seams. Can Casey figure out who killed the ranch owners? Can Will keep going when his world has been smashed and his job at the ranch seems about to disappear? Can Scott spend time supporting the two men he loves, and not lose his shot at the NHL? Changes Coming Down follows the men to the end of the mystery, and an HFN.

In the new book 2, Changes Going On, we see these three guys in the aftermath of the events of book 1. Diving right back in, we find out how the world is going to treat three men in love, as they fight for their HEA. 




 Changes Going On by [Harper, Kaje]
(Changes Book 2 )
by Kaje Harper

 Blurb:

Three men, one summer of media, mentorship, and murder.

There's a reason Scott Edison came out as gay and poly on national TV— now no one can try to push him back into the closet. But as his men and his hockey team deal with the fallout from fans and paparazzi, moving forward isn't as easy as he'd hoped.

Will Rice was looking forward to a quiet summer, sharing the work with his guys and giving Scott a refuge from the spotlight. He's hired a couple of young ranch hands, and finally feels ready to give back some of the mentoring that turned his life around decades ago. But good fences won't be enough to keep trouble off the ranch.

Casey Barlow left the Sheriff's Department on his own terms, out and proud. But when the new sheriff is murdered— and Casey's one of the few with a watertight alibi— he's asked to investigate, and he can't resist. He's determined to solve the murder, and still take care of his men on the home front. Then one murder becomes two…

It's a summer of risks and challenges, and working together is the only way they'll make it through.

Genre: M/M/M poly contemporary/mystery

Length: 120,000 words
Publisher: self-pubbed
Content warnings: mention of drugs, mention of violent death, mention of teen suicide, some on-page physical violence




Excerpt from Changes Going On, Chapter 2 
(***contains a spoiler for book 1 - Changes Coming Down***)


Scott's interview that he did, coming out on TV sports show InTheZone with Randy Metz, aired the next morning. Rafters media director Shana Vail, whom Scotty had blindsided with his unauthorized reveal, insisted that Scott, Casey, and Will come watch the show in the Las Vegas hotel room of Rafters GM Paul Desrosier, so they'll know what they're up against as Scott comes out


Rafters GM Desrosier took the remote from Rafters media director Shana Vail and muted the TV, still staring at it.

After a second, Vail blew out a breath. “Sorry. I’m happy for you guys. Congratulations. Now let’s make as many fans as possible happy for you too. First thing will be to sign you to a new contract.”

“Really?” Scott said, “I thought by doing this in the off-season—”

“What? That we’d wait and see how it went? We can hardly express our confidence and pride while making the Calder finalist wait for a contract.” She glanced at Desrosier. “In fact, a multi-year contract right now would send the ideal signal.”

The GM grunted. “Look, kid, you know we were going to come to you with a good offer after that season you played. We’re still going to do that, but you’d damned well better not let this stuff distract you. We expect you to play up to your potential. Right?”

Scott stammered, “Th-thank you, sir.” Casey thought he looked caught between thrilled and pissed off, but he closed his mouth on whatever else he might’ve wanted to say.

“Have your agent call me in about an hour,” Desrosier told him. “We’ll get it worked out.”

“I will. Thanks.”

Desrosier jerked his thumb toward the bedroom. “I’m going to be in there, talking to the owners. You listen to Ms. Vail and do what she tells you, and maybe we’ll get through this mess all right.” He stalked out of the room, closing the door behind him with a thump.

“Mess,” Casey murmured.

“He’s not homophobic,” Vail said. “Your boyfriend dumped a publicity crisis in his lap before breakfast. He’s not pleased.”

“I know I should’ve discussed it first,” Scott said. “But I was afraid the team might say no, or I’d lose my nerve.”

“Well, it’s done. On to practical matters. Scott, I’ve assigned one of my team to handle your personal social media for a while.”

“Huh? That’s not what personal means.”

“Someone has to read all the comments, because I promise you won’t want to. They can steer you to the ones that deserve a real response, ones from gay teens for example. They’ll report anything that looks like an actual threat. They’ll screen the physical letters that come in. They’ll handle requests for your time. I’m betting it’ll be a full-time job for the first month or more.”

“Oh. Sure.” Scott seemed to deflate.

“For what it’s worth, I think you were smart to do this in the off-season. Emotions run higher when the season’s underway. There should be time to take the edge off before play starts up again in the fall.”

“I hope so.”

“I’m going to get you signed up to do some TV interviews. I have a list of gay-friendly hosts. At least one of the interview spots should be all three of you.”

“We have a ranch to run,” Will said.

“Get your soon-to-be-millionaire boyfriend to hire someone to help out. The fans need to see the three of you looking wholesome, so they’re not imagining some kind of orgy with leather and whips.”

People who like leather and whips can be wholesome. Casey was kind of fond of leather himself, but he knew when to keep his mouth shut. “We’ll let you lead the way, but Scott gets veto power.”

“All three of us get veto power.” Scott turned a dark glare on him. “It’s all our lives involved.”

Vail shrugged. “Whatever. You work it out. My job is to make you come out smelling like roses, with the team looking like a champion of equality, while not offending too many fans. I’m going to use every tool I have to do that.” She turned to Casey. “What kind of security does your ranch have? The team might chip in for upgrades, maybe a bodyguard. I guarantee you’re going to have paparazzi coming around, looking for a nude photo or an emotional outburst or a scandal.”

“Um.” Casey realized he hadn’t put enough thought into that since Scott had surprised them with his decision. “We have some security, mostly at the main house.” He’d call his friend Max, first thing, about upgrades.

“Can you trust your workers to keep their tempers cool and their mouths shut?”

“I trust them to support us. I don’t promise they couldn’t be provoked into taking a swing at someone.” Don could be a hothead, and they had a couple of new summer hands.

“And that’s going to be a problem,” Vail pointed out. “Every tabloid is going to be trying for a reaction, for an exclusive angle. They’re going to bait you, and snoop, and drive you up the wall. It’s important that you suck it up, no matter how awful they are. One shove, one punch, especially caught on camera, and they own you. To a lesser extent, that’s true for anyone who works for you too.”

“We’ll warn them again,” Casey promised. Will had given the hands a basic heads-up an hour ago. “No need for a bodyguard, since I’ll be with Scott. And the ranch is private property, so we can get anyone who’s snooping arrested for trespassing. I’ll get more purple paint out on the perimeter.”

“Purple paint?” Vail frowned. “Is that a gay thing?”

“It means the same as ‘No Trespassing’ signs, at least in Kansas… but I guess paparazzi won’t know that either. Shit. I’ll tell the hands to paint up signs.”

“Sorry,” Scott began.

“Not your fault, Scotty. And if this means we get you home for the summer? I’d paint a thousand signs with my own hands.”

“You should invest in security cameras, too,” Vail said. “Best defense against someone claiming you attacked them is to show them making physical contact with you first.”

“You really think someone’s gonna get punched?” Will asked.

“I sure as hell hope not. But the gutter press loves to incite people and exploit that. It pays to stay ahead of them.”

“Shit.” Scott ran a hand over his head, his eyes bleak.

Vail touched his arm with the first compassionate look Casey had seen from her. “Don’t let it get you down. I’m pissed about having to scramble to make this happen, but it’s a real good thing you’re doing. I mean that. An important thing, for hockey in general and for all those young kids.”

“I appreciate that.”

“When the dust settles a bit, we’ll arrange for you to talk to some youth sports organizations and LGBT groups, in Portland and maybe other cities. Promote equality in sports. Are you up for that?”

“I guess,” Scott said.

Casey saw their relaxed summer together going up in smoke, but how could he argue?

“Now, call your agent.” She waved Scott toward the couch. “I’m going to line up a TV interview or two. You boys should sit down, have a soda, and try to relax. You’re in this for the long haul.” She picked up her phone and stepped out onto the balcony.

Scott wandered back to the seating area and dropped onto the couch. Will sat beside him, and Casey took the other side. “Shove over, hockey moose. You’re squishing me.”

Scott gave him a limp attempt at a smirk and slid closer to Will. When Scott turned his phone on, the cascade of chimes made them all wince. “Agent first,” Scott said, clearly using the excuse not to read his dozens of texts. It was a quick call. Even without speaker, Casey could tell Fraser on the other end was pissed about being blindsided, and pretty cold, but cheered up by the news of a forthcoming Rafters contract offer. He hung up promising to be in touch. Scott stared down at the phone, then tapped his text icon.

“Mom sent one.” He opened it to read ~Proud of you son. Mom & Dad. His sigh was deep enough to be heard.

“Did you think they wouldn’t be?” Casey murmured.

“I might be throwing away everything we worked for. Dad worked two jobs to pay for my gear and camps, to get me to the NHL, and the minute I had it made, I did this.”

“Seems like they’re okay with it. With us.”

“Seems like.” Scott typed ~Thanks. Love you both. “At least if they are upset, they’re not letting it show.”

The remaining two dozen texts were all positive, coming from teammates, old and new, and staff from Scott’s teams. The gist was pretty much ~Congratulations. We’ve got your back. To which he responded with generic thanks. He paused over one, muttering, “Pretty sure this dude is gay,” but kept his reply the same.

There was one from Nita at the ranch, sent after Will had contacted her, that said ~Congratulations. You still have to shovel shit when you get back

Scott’s eyes brightened and he sent ~Sounds pretty good right now

More texts pinged as he was working, increasingly from unknown numbers, many clearly journalists. He deleted those unread, continuing doggedly through the ones in his contacts until Casey nudged him. “I think you got the important ones. Take a break.”

Scott leaned back in the couch. “And thirty-six voicemails. Shit.” He squeezed his eye shut. “I hoped this might not be a such big deal.”

“Really?” Will said.

“Well, in my dreams. I can’t wait to get back to the ranch, saddle Misty up, and ride somewhere out of cell phone range.”

“That’s what you can’t wait for? We’re rejected for your horse?” Casey murmured.

“With the two of you alongside. And a convenient haystack.”

“No one stacks hay anymore,” Will said. “And sex in loose hay is no fun. The chaff gets everywhere.”

Scott bumped his shoulder. “Right. Rain on my daydreams.” But he opened his eyes and looked less drawn.

“We’ll be back there soon,” Casey promised. “Right now, we have a hotel room with a bed and room service. A hell of a lot better than a haystack.”

“Fuck, yeah.” Scott turned and kissed him fast, then gave Will the same simple kiss. “Thanks for sticking with me.”

“No place else I’d rather be,” Casey said truthfully…



Kaje Harper Bio:

I get asked about my name a lot. It's not something exotic, though. “Kaje” is pronounced just like “cage” – it’s an old nickname, and my pronouns are she/her/hers. I’ve been writing far longer than I care to admit (*whispers – forty years*), although mostly for my own entertainment. I write M/M romance, often with added mystery, fantasy, historical, SciFi, paranormal… I also have Young Adult short stories (some released under the pen name Kira Harp.) 
It was my husband who finally convinced me that after all the years of writing just for fun, I really should submit something, somewhere. My first professionally published book, Life Lessons, came out from MLR Press in May 2011. I now have a good-sized backlist in ebooks and print, both free and professionally and indie published, including Amazon bestseller The Rebuilding Year and Rainbow Award Best Mystery-Thriller Tracefinder: Contact. A complete list with links can be found on my website "Books" page.
I'm always pleased to have readers find me online at:




GIVEAWAY

3 entries will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive an ebook copy of Changes Going On. If you haven't read book 1, feel free to skip the excerpt if you wish, and in your comment, let me know you'd like to win both books instead. 

Giveaway ends Midnight EST March 27th.   (note from ELF, this is the first time I've tried to use the Rafflecopter...so please DO leave a comment in case we have to randomly select the winners that way!)





2 comments:

  1. Thanks for helping get the word out, Crystal! I enjoyed these two books, but then I enjoy all of Kaje's stories!

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