Book Title: The Experiment
Author: Rebecca Raine
Cover Artist: Bec Rivers
Release Date: Tuesday, 18 August (AEST)
Genre/s: Contemporary MM Romance
Trope/s: Friends-to-Lovers, Gay for You, First-time Gay
Themes: Friendship, Self-discovery, Self-experimentation
Heat Rating: 4 flames
Length: 85 000 words/ approx. 210 pages
It is a standalone book.
Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited
When a single kiss calls your sexuality into question,
there’s only one sure path to a reliable answer: further research.
When a single kiss calls your sexuality into question, there’s only one sure path to a reliable answer: further research.
I like to think I know myself outside and in. As a developmental psychologist, I’ve spent years exploring the true foundations of my identity. So, when losing a bet means kissing my best friend, Logan, I already know I’m going to hate every second of it. All the relevant questions regarding my sexuality were asked and answered years ago. The results were conclusive: despite the odd same-sex attraction, I dislike being touched by men.
That is, it seems, until Logan is the man doing the touching. The intense desire aroused by his kiss contradicts all my expectations and I have no idea how to integrate the new information. Thankfully, I know exactly how to uncover the truth about myself—once and for all.
I’ve put a lot of effort into keeping Patrick out of my fantasies and in the friend-zone. Our recent lip-lock may have unleashed my feelings for him temporarily, but I’ll get them back on their platonic track in no time. Falling for a friend, especially a sexually ambivalent friend, is a one-way ticket to heartache.
But, when the unforeseen impact of our kiss inspires Patrick to conduct an experiment into the extent of his bisexuality, I can’t resist volunteering to help. If any man is going to join Patrick on his journey of self-discovery, it’s sure as hell going to be me.
“You can do your experiment with me.”
My heart pounds, as I wait for him to respond to my offer. The part of me that’s sure he’ll say yes is already weak with relief that he won’t go out looking for anyone else. I don’t want other men touching Patrick. If he’s only ever going to do this experiment with one man, I want that man to be me.
“I thought you wanted to go back to the way things were.” His gaze is wary, and he has yet to move a muscle. “We’re friends, nothing more. That’s what you said.”
“Yes, and it’s still true,” I assure him. “I do want to go back to being friends. But we can do it after the experiment.”
His breath has quickened and, when he speaks again, his voice is rough. “Are you sure you want to do this?”
“It’s the best viable solution,” I tell him, as if coating my possessiveness with a thick layer of pragmatism will make it less obvious. “Don’t forget, it was my kiss that breathed life into your queerness.” My body reacts to the idea of doing it again… and again… and again. However many times he needs to be satisfied. I make a show of licking my lips, enjoying the way he watches with rapt attention. “How much do you want to bet I can get more than a boner out of you?”
With a start, his eyes narrow and he points a finger at me. “No more bets.”
Laughing out loud, I nod. “That’s right. How could I forget?”
He runs a hand over the back of his neck as he looks around the bar, before returning his gaze to me. “I’ll admit, when I decided to do this, my first instinct was to come to you.” He gestures at me with an impatient hand. “You’re the only guy I’ve ever enjoyed kissing and it totally blew my mind. Why do you think I’m doing this in the first place?” he growls, his frustration coming through. “It’s not just because of what happened when we kissed. It’s the fact I can’t stop thinking about it.”
He’s not the only one. I’ve rubbed my cock raw in remembrance. The urge to shove him back against the nearby wall washes over me. I want to give him something new to think about. Ignoring the impulse, I swallow hard and speak in a low voice. “When you’re thinking about it, are these analytical thoughts about what it all means? Or are they wanking thoughts?”
He glances away, trying to appear nonchalant. “Both.”
My muscles tighten at the thought of him with his hand wrapped around his throbbing dick, fantasising about kissing me while he pants and moans his way to orgasm. I want to know what he looks like when he comes. What he sounds like. How he feels.
“But,” he says, with emphasis, interrupting the lustfest going on in my head, “I decided against it because I know you don’t—” The words cut off and his eyes close briefly. “I don’t want us to stop being friends.”
“I don’t want that either but, Patrick, you’re playing with fire here and assuming no one will steal the matches. I’m the only one I trust to do this right.”
He’s still reluctant. I can feel the force of his doubts. But he hasn’t said no.
“Patrick, listen to me.” I slide a hand around the back of his neck, urging him to meet my gaze. “You need someone you can trust to stop when you say stop, no matter what’s happening when you say it. Someone who won’t get pissed at you and accuse you of being a tease when you leave them with blue balls.” Releasing him, I grin. “Besides, you tried looking for someone else to kiss. It didn’t work. You chose me and now you’re stuck with me for the duration.”
He huffs out an indignant sound. “I could find someone else to kiss,” he blusters, “if I looked really hard… for about ten years.”
I laugh out loud, knowing I almost have him convinced. “Yeah, but even if you did, it wouldn’t matter.”
“Why is that?” He leans closer, as if he’s looking forward to my response.
In that instant, I realise how badly I want this—him. I want to tug on every thread of his sexuality, freeing each strand for thorough inspection. I want to tie him in knots, before making him unravel for me. And I want him to know, every second along the way, I’m the one who is doing this to him. That I’m the only man to ever make him feel this way.
Licking my lips, I take a step closer and bring my face in next to his. “Because even if you did hit your limit with someone else, you’d always wonder how much further I could have taken you.” I lower my head, so he can feel my breath against his neck as I go in for the kill. “Patrick, my friend, I’m going to drag your arse so far down my end of the spectrum, you’ll have to claw your way straight.”
Q&A with Rebecca Raine
Introduce yourself and your writing
I’m an Australian romance writer who loves to write about the many and varied ways people fall in love. I live in Queensland with my very own hero husband, two quirky kids and a big, black dog. Aside from reading and writing, I enjoy loud music, lazy Sunday afternoons, and spending too much time on the internet.
Tell us about your new release. What inspired you to write it?
It all began with a sudden spark of inspiration that came to mind one day. It was of a man who was trying to psyche himself up to kiss another man, even though he really didn’t want to. It was obvious they were in a bar, and he was doing it to satisfy a bet, but other than that I had no idea what was going on.
Then the man turned to someone else, who was sitting beside him, and said, “You know, mate, this would be a hell of a lot easier if you would quit laughing.” In that instant, I knew the friend was the man he’d end up kissing, and he’d be anything but reluctant by the end of it.
I loved the idea so much I grabbed a notebook and pen and spent about an hour rushing to write everything down. That spark of inspiration became the opening of The Experiment.
How did you decide on the title?
I wanted the title to be very simple and to reflect the way the book is set out. Instead of chapters, the book is divided into the sections of a published research paper. Including the Research Question, Participants and Methodology, and Data Gathering, all the way through to the Conclusion.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
For me, I have to already be writing before the ideas start to come. So, my advice for new writers would be to just start writing. Never wait for a perfect word or a perfect line before putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). Also, read as many recommended writing craft books as you can get your hands on. One of my favourites is Into the Woods by John Yorke.
What other novels do you adore/ writers you follow?
There are so many! Some of my favourite MM Romance writers include: Riley Hart, Roan Parrish, Lucy Lennox, Leta Blake, Neve Wilder, and Eden Finley.
Are any of your characters based on you or people you know?
I think there’s always a little piece of me in every character I write. My best example of this is Amber and Lincoln from Lost in Amber. These two are total opposites: the princess and the minimalist. I love dining in fancy restaurants and getting dressed up, like Amber. But at home I like to keep things simple and uncluttered, like Lincoln. Having two opposing parts of my own personality in the book allowed me to connect with both characters on a deeper level, which made for more honest conflict.
Do you have a favourite character and/or book you’ve written? Who, what and why?
One random day, a character popped up in my head, held out a hand and introduced himself as Jeremy. He had messy brown hair, eyeliner, and wore suspenders. His big, infectious smile came with a matching personality. He became a lead in two of my books (Everything We Need and All the Broken Pieces). It doesn’t matter how many characters I write, or how deeply I fall in love with them, whenever anyone asks if I have a favourite character, it’s Jeremy who leaps to mind.
Do characters and stories just pop into your head, or do you take your time thinking about and planning them?
It always starts with the spark. It could be a character, or a line of dialogue, or a what if question. After that I start asking the usual questions: who, what, why, why not? Brainstorming those answers usually gives me a basic storyline to start playing around with.
Are you a panster or a plotter?
I don’t consider myself to be either. I certainly do spend time plotting my books before I start writing them, but then as I’m writing I’m also looking for opportunities to dig deeper into the characters and learn new things about them that may influence how the story develops. Trying to put myself in one box or the other would feel all wrong.
Do you write often? Do you have a schedule?
For the most part, I write when my kids are at school. Then publishing and marketing tasks are done at night, and in the morning, and whatever else I can squeeze them in.
What are your writing and personal goals for 2020 and beyond?
I’m writing another book now that I would dearly love to publish before the end of the year. Then, next year, I’m planning to work on a new series.
Are you a cat person or a dog person? Tell us about your pets.
We have a dog, so I’d better say I’m a dog person or he might get grumpy.
Are you obsessed with stationery? And if so, what and why?
I adore beautiful notebooks. The look of them, the crispness of the unmarked pages. Gorgeous. Unfortunately, I can’t write in them because I feel like every word has to be perfect or it’s a waste of all that pretty. So, I do my actual writing in the old dodgy notebooks left over at the end of every school year. There’s always plenty of them, and I scribble all over them without feeling bad about messing them up.
If you could choose any superpower or magical ability, what would it be and why? What would you do with it?
Telekinesis. I’m not sure what I’d do with it, other than be lazy, but I’d love to be able to move stuff around with my mind. Plus, I’m convinced if you can move stuff then you can move yourself. Which means you can fly!
About the Author
Rebecca is a long-time lover of all things romance. Whether it’s a book, movie, or real life, she will always have more fun if there’s a love interest thrown into the mix. She lives in Queensland, Australia with her very own hero husband, two quirky kids and one big, black dog. Other than reading and writing books, her favourite things include loud music, enjoying a glass of wine on the patio, organising everything in existence, and spending too much time on the Internet.
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