Thursday, April 19, 2012

Thursday's Think Tank: A.J. Jarrett--Setting the World On Fire

Hey all, today at the Cave we're welcoming the wonderful AJ Jarrett. AJ's got a new book coming out, and wanted to pop by to tell us a bit about it. Along the way she shares a bit about what sets her on fire...


As a writer, babies, as a writer! 
*shakes head at the lasciviousness of the thoughts clearly displayed on the faces of my readers* 

Welcome, then without further ado, the talented AJ Jarrett.


As an author I like to write about what I know. Be it location or people. All my books, so far. take place in Kansas City, Missouri and the surrounding area. This is where I grew up and I feel I can describe the area with accuracy. I’m a very literal person and I like things to be as accurate as possible. And putting my characters in the K.C. area makes me feel comfortable--as if the story is more realistic. At least it is to me.
Now when it comes to my characters I’m guilty of instilling them with a lot of my own personality and quirks. Friends and family who have known me for years always comment how it sounds just like me or how the phrase is something I’d say. Well I contribute that to who do you know better than yourself? So for me it’s easy to have one character (be it a main or supporting one) to have characteristics similar to mine. I also think the dialogue between the characters is an important part of the story, and therefore I want what they to say to be as realistic sounding as possible. When you read my books my characters have a tendency to cuss a lot because quite frankly I cuss a lot. So I’ll write the dialogue as if I was speaking the words myself to that person.

I’m going to get all girly here but I use my husband’s characteristics a lot to. He’s a standup guy that is always looking ahead to better our life together. He puts me first always. So with my characters I always want one who is level headed and thinking toward the future and one who flies by the seat of his pants ready and willing to try anything. The characters in Set Me On Fire are just like my husband and I with the only difference is they're both men. Nate is older and wants to keep the man he loves safe. He’s the thinker of the two. Where Kelly knows what he wants, wants it now and there is no changing his mind. Both Nate and Kelly are stubborn people but when you come into any relationship that is what happens. You have to learn to grow and change together and accept each other’s faults because being in love and loving is a never ending journey but so worth the trip!

Thanks Cherie for letting me stop by and bend you alls ear for a while. I’m excited for Set Me On Fire’s release and as you can see I really love the characters of Nate and Kelly. I hope others will fall in love with them too!

Kelly Lynch wanted to become a firefighter to help people, but with his accident prone nature his boss, Nate Anderson, thinks he’s an utter fool. Kelly never planned to fall for Nate but now that he has, he realizes loving is easy; understanding and compromise are hard.

Nate has been attracted to Kelly since his first day at the station house. Watching the younger man day in and day out is frustrating. Kelly’s latest stunt almost got him killed and Nate fears losing the man of his dreams.

Will Nate’s demanding ways cause the embers of their love to die out? Or will Kelly prove he has what it takes to be with Nate, at work and in the bedroom?

Story Excerpt
"God, I swear if you get me out of this mess I promise to listen and follow orders for the rest of my life, or at least make the effort to try," Kelly prayed aloud as he crawled, belly down, across the dirty floor. He was doing his best to see through the smoke-filled room but still couldn't find where he'd entered.
Kelly scooted a little more, using touch more than sight to navigate his way through the smoky haze and chunks of debris. He had separated from the team of men he'd come into the burning building with. A choice he now regretted immensely.
He had made a stupid move, but he could have sworn he'd heard someone cry out for help. A completely bonehead move to run off without telling anyone. One of the first things they taught you when you became a firefighter, never leave your team, or at least partner with someone else, but never go off on your own.
But no, he thought he knew better and wanted to be the hero and save the poor individual stuck in this fire pit. Now he was starting to wonder if he'd just imagined he heard the cry for help.
"I'm so fucked." Kelly rested his helmet-covered head on the ground and then proceeded to bang his head on the hard floor. It was useless, he was trapped.
Kelly sat up at the sound of someone yelling his name. What direction had the voice come from? He couldn't tell. The sound was so faint compared to all the hissing and crackling noises of the fire in full blaze all around him.
"God damn it, Lynch, where are you?"
He heard the shout again, only louder. Kelly felt his way around the floor until he came face to face with a boot. He started to look up when large, glove-covered hands grabbed the back of his jacket.
"What do you think you were doing, you dumb shit? You're lucky we noticed you missing."
Kelly could tell by the size of the man dragging him out of the entryway that it was Luke Parsons, one of the biggest guys in the house. He may be a big beefy guy, but he was super nice, and Kelly couldn't have been more grateful Luke found him and not the lieutenant of their station house.
"I'm sorry but I thought I heard someone call out for help." Kelly grabbed at Parsons' hand, still attached to Kelly's jacket, dragging him along. "Please, Luke, I know I heard someone," he pleaded as he tried to pull himself free of Luke's hold.
The fire raged through an abandoned building in the East Bottoms of downtown Kansas City. While the only people in this building were more than likely homeless, they were still people who needed to be saved.
"Are you sure, kid?" Kelly nodded enthusiastically. "Okay then let's see what we can find. We don't have much time; this building is going up faster than a hay bale."
As Kelly followed Luke back into the room, the sound of a faint cry grabbed both their attention. Luke pushed Kelly behind him as he made his way toward the small whimpering sounds. As they got closer, Kelly saw the slight frame of a man huddled in the corner. Luke bent down and snatched the man up in his arms.
Luke looked to Kelly. "Lead the way. Follow the way we just came and you'll see the crew in the hallway."
Kelly navigated through the smoke and falling ceiling tiles toward the exit. As he reached the doorway the hall was empty. He turned back to Luke. "They're not here." Panic started to eat away at his composure.
"Shit," Luke shouted. "Here, kid, take my radio and let the guys know we're coming out with another man in tow. They need to have paramedics ready for this guy."
"You know the way out?" Luke nodded as Kelly took the offered radio and lifted his face shield. "This is Lynch and Parsons. We got a survivor and we're coming out."
"Copy that, son. Make your way out fast. We just got the order to clear the building and let it burn. Move your asses now."
He looked back to Luke. "You get that?"
"Yep. Head out the door and the stairs are on the right. We need to go up one flight then a little ways down we’ll come to a set of double doors and that will take us outside." Kelly watched as Luke hefted the man higher on his shoulder. “Start moving.”
Kelly nodded his understanding and made his way toward freedom. Times like this he questioned why he wanted to be a firefighter. No one in his family was one, so it wasn't about carrying on a legacy or some shit.
As he pushed the door open with his shoulder, he was greeted by sunlight streaking through the smoky clouds rolling off the burning building. He looked back toward Luke, the man he was carrying appeared passed out over his shoulder. That was why Kelly had chosen this profession. He wanted to make a difference. Have a job he could be proud of.
"Over here."
Kelly and Luke walked right over to the ambulance and deposited the man with the paramedics. They then made their way over to the engine where the rest of the crew stood watching the fire burn. Kelly flipped up his face mask and removed his helmet. Then he took off his jacket, tucked the heavy material under his arm, and stared up at the building. If Luke hadn't found him, Kelly would be one crispy critter right about now.
"What the fuck were you thinking?"
Someone grabbed Kelly by the shoulders and threw him up against the side of the truck, causing him to bump the back of his head hard against the metal door. When his vision cleared he saw Nate Anderson, lieutenant of station house sixteen, standing right in front of him with the attitude Kelly had hoped to avoid.
"Hey, Nate, back the fuck up." Luke pushed himself between him and Nate. "If it wasn't for Kelly, that man over there would be dead."
Nate took a step back and looked toward the ambulance where the man was being triaged. Kelly could see the vein pulsing at Nate's temple. He wasn't happy and Kelly knew he would be hearing all about that unhappiness later.
Nate looked back at him over Luke's shoulder. "You and I will talk about this back at the station house." Nate pointed a finger at him and then walked away.
He was so screwed. Every time he made a mistake Nate made sure to tell him how and why he screwed up. Granted, it was Nate's job to go over the mistakes they made so they could learn from their errors, but his lectures were becoming a broken record. Kelly wasn't looking forward to this discussion.

Adult Excerpt
The younger man leaned forward to nibble at his ear. Goosebumps ran over his arms making the hair stand up. Warm moist heat tickled his ear when Kelly spoke. "It's not teasing when you plan on making good on the offer."
He pulled back to look at Kelly. "Why don't we eat before our pizza gets cold? Then take a walk along the water and just talk." Nate removed Kelly's hand from his crotch and placed it on the table. All the sexual promises for later were fine and dandy but he wanted to make it clear he desired more than just a quick roll in the hay.
"Okay." Kelly turned away but not before Nate saw the scrunched-up look of confusion on his face.
They ate in silence. When they finished they picked up their trash and threw it in the garbage can. The sun set and the sky darkened to twilight. As they made their way toward the trail, Nate grabbed Kelly's hand and held it loosely as they walked the river's edge. He felt Kelly jump at the contact. Nate ran his thumb over Kelly's knuckles to soothe him. He wanted to get to know Kelly on a more intimate level so Kelly would see him as more than his boss and more than an easy lay.
"So, Kelly, tell me why you wanted to be a firefighter?" Nate thought it best to start off with the easy questions first.
"Good question. I guess you could say I stumbled upon it when I was in college. I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life." Kelly continued walking but kept his gaze lowered to the cement path they were walking on.
"One afternoon as I left the library and headed back to my dorm, there was this huge crowd standing around outside my building. As I got closer I saw the dorm next to mine was on fire. Then I heard the sirens of the fire engines." Kelly stopped walking to look him in the eye. "I stood out there and watched as they saved some of the students trapped inside then got the fire under control. Watching the firemen work together as a team had to be one the most amazing things I had ever seen."
A look of wonderment crossed the younger man's face and Nate had to grin. He knew the feeling of utter awe at watching and wanting to be the one helping save the people in the building. And then the need to be the one to put out the fire tearing the building apart. Yeah, he knew the feeling all too well. Fighting fires ran in his blood. All the men on his father's side of the family had been firefighters and now he and his brother carried on the family tradition.
"Well that and all the gorgeous firemen standing around. Hot as hell."
The thought of Kelly thinking any other man or men were attractive left a bitter taste in his mouth. He went to pull Kelly closer but the man dropped his hand and took off running down the trail.
"I know that look. You so want to ream my ass right now," Kelly yelled over his shoulder as he ran. "You're going to have to catch me first."
Nate dug his heels in and started running all out. His little firefighter liked to play with fire. Well this was one time an all-consuming fire was just fine. What he felt for Kelly burned him alive on the inside and he wanted to set Kelly ablaze with the same need.
Kelly's shorter legs carried him faster than Nate thought possible but before long he caught up to him. In one quick move he grabbed Kelly around the waist and took him off his feet. He swung him around until they faced each other. Kelly breathed hard from exertion and laughing. The gleam in his eyes and the sweat running down his temple from his hair crushed any of Nate's thoughts of going slow.
Nate wrapped his arms around Kelly's waist. Pulled together chest to chest Nate lowered his mouth and bit at the supple bottom lip of Kelly's mouth. Kelly moaned so loudly he scared a few birds out of a nearby tree.
Without thinking Nate ran his hands down Kelly's back until he grabbed the firm globes of his ass. He picked Kelly up off his feet and walked him backwards off the trail to give them the privacy to be intimate without fear of being interrupted. Kelly's fingers dug into his shoulders as he pushed him up against a tree.
Nate lowered Kelly's feet back to the ground and smashed their lips together. Kelly parted his lips when Nate forced his tongue against the crease, coaxing and prodding until Kelly's tongue came out to play.
Kelly gave as well as he got but Nate wanted total control. He lowered his hands to the waist at the back of Kelly's shorts. The shorts were baggy enough to allow him to slide one hand down the back. He pushed past Kelly's boxers and cupped his bare ass cheek with his hand. The skin was slightly sweaty from the humid heat and their hard run a few minutes earlier. Nate wanted to lick and taste the salty skin until the younger man begged to be fucked.
The kiss went on and on, not rushed or forced. The more Nate rubbed at the hard, muscled ass, the more Kelly relaxed. Seeing his opportunity, he pulled at Kelly's cheeks until his hole was exposed to Nate's questing digit. He gently caressed the tiny pucker, feeling the rippled skin twitch against his finger.
Kelly pulled away to look up at him. "Do it."

BUY LINKS For AJ's Stuff

Ways to Contact AJ (for stalking... er, Fan Following Purposes)


  1. Yay! AJ!!! Okay now that I've fanboi'd all over the Cave (I'll clean that up later Cherie, I promise).

    I love that your characters cuss a lot AJ, because I do too. Sometimes when I'm reading books, I inject some profanity in the character's dialogue just because I think they need it. I like it when authors keep it real.

    And that's sweet that you use your husband as an example when writing, he sounds like a good guy. And your excerpts were hawt! Can't wait to read the book.

  2. OMG...totally fell in love with your characters in just those blurbs. Can't wait to get my "hands" on it! I would also like to know how your family/husband feels about being used as character inspiration? I would be flattered but I know people can be picky. Anyways, thank you for sharing your lovely characters and location development!


What's your take?