Hello and welcome to my blog for another round of Meet the Characters! Today I am featuring a guest blogger who has graciously agreed to let me do a character interview, which is my favorite kind of interview. Join me in welcoming author, M.Q. Barber, and her characters from Playing the Game (Neighborly Affection Book #1). It’s a fantastic contemporary erotic romance with wonderful characters so without further ado here is the interview with Jay, Henry, and Alice.
How did you first meet your writer?
Alice: Over dinner. Sort of.
Jay: Oh, somebody was definitely dinner.
Henry: I whispered in her ear as I do with Alice. A bit crude, perhaps, but effective.
Alice: But he’s so polite all the time. When he does say something naughty, it’s such a turn-on. He’s got this low growl–
Jay: –and he kisses with this intense ownership–
Alice: –oh, yeah, with his hands on my–
Henry: I believe we’re straying from the topic, my dears. Shall we move along?
Do you infiltrate your writer’s dreams?
Alice: Infiltrate is a strong word. We visit.
Jay: A lot. We visit most nights. She’s funny, ‘cause she makes this angry bear sound when we wake her up, but I know she likes it or she wouldn’t go diving for her notepad and start writing. Plus, she makes us go over everything. As if I didn’t know what I meant to say. I said it, didn’t I?
Henry: I’m certain she means well, Jay. Our chronicler has a touch of Alice’s perfectionist nature. I admit, it’s entertaining to catch her off guard. Waking her just as she’s dropping off to sleep or attracting her notice as she stands bleary-eyed in the shower elicits the most amusing responses.
What do you like to do when you are not being actively read somewhere?
Alice and Jay: Whatever Henry tells me to.
Jay: Hey, that’s my line.
Alice: I thought you liked sharing.
Jay: I know what we can share. How about–
Henry: Save the teasing for later, please. In case the two of you have yet to notice, we’re being actively read at the moment.
Alice and Jay: Sorry, Henry.
What do you wear when you go to sleep?
Jay: They make clothes for that?
Alice: Behave, stud. Clothes, huh? Well, I’m partial to a t-shirt and PJ pants on the nights I’m alone. But I’m pretty sure Henry doesn’t allow clothes in his bed. Not on us, at least. Although I don’t remember agreeing to sleep naked in the contract, and I read through that sucker at least a dozen times before I signed.
Henry: An oversight, my dear. We’ll adjust your contract this evening to stipulate nudity during sleep. As to the question, I find clothes an unwelcome distraction when I wish to lay my hands on the unencumbered sleekness of my dear ones’ bodies. Though I must say, Alice is quite fetching even decorated in childish representations of her profession.
Alice: Oh my god, you were looking? What am I saying. Of course you were. For your information, my sister gave me those pajamas.
Henry: For your information, I wrestled with a nigh-unbearable urge to strip you out of them.
Jay: What happened to saving the teasing for later?
If you knew a zombie apocalypse was coming in one week, what would you do?
Alice: When you say apocalypse, what scale of societal collapse are we talking about here? Are the zombies fast or slow?
Jay: I’d visit my family first. We could stay there, maybe.
Alice: –reinforce the building to make the interior inaccessible to the horde–
Jay: It’d be out of the city. My folks have plenty of space.
Alice: –stockpile weapons and ammunition—
Jay: What do you think, Henry?
Alice: –turn the windows into a shooting blind–
Henry: I believe Alice has our preparations well in hand, my boy. Perhaps you’d care to help me stockpile ingredients for desserts and leave the household defense to her direction, hmm?
Henry: Cheesecake. A zombie apocalypse on any scale warrants cheesecake.
She expects dinner with neighbors, but gets sex with a side of safewords.
Mechanical engineer Alice still drools over her sexy neighbors a year after she’s moved in. She can’t decide whether they’re roommates or partners, but either way, they spark a wanton desire in her that has her imagination–and vibrator–working overtime.
Henry, director of everything around him, studies human nature and applies philosophies to his paintings as well as his relationships. Quirky, polite to a fault, and formal, he follows his own code of honor even when it means denying himself.
Flirtatious and playful, Jay needs stability, guidance, and to please others. His antics counterbalance Henry’s stuffy ways while he brings a level of vulnerability and fun to everything the trio does.
BDSM play with the enigmatic artist and flirtatious joker across the hall allows Alice to put aside the linear thought processes which have kept her unsatisfied and distant with other lovers. She must dismiss her preconception of love, sacrificing her independence, if she’s to find a permanent place in their beds and hearts.
Henry clicked his tongue. “Jay and I have both noticed your interest, Alice. It’s nothing of which you need be ashamed. We’re flattered.”
She waited for his gentle brush-off. God, why couldn’t she meet any available nice guys? Ones who could dress themselves in the morning and put a meal on the table once in a while? Ones who could hold her attention for more than three dates but wouldn’t pressure her for commitment?
“Definitely flattered,” Jay chimed in. His gaze raked over her body.
The move might’ve earned a stranger a drink in the face, but not Jay, her de facto best friend. His look was what she’d wanted when she put the dress on. Even if he was untouchable.
No rule against fantasizing. She’d apologize and promise to rein it in and everything would be fine.
“Manners, Jay.” Henry released her arm to pull out her chair. “I won’t tolerate such boorish behavior. Alice deserves more dignified attentions.”
She studied her sandals against the dining room rug. Dignified, undignified…hell, she liked ’em both.
“She wants to play, Henry. You know she does, even if she hasn’t said so.”
Jay rarely sounded so serious. She opened her mouth to ask about their game when Henry spoke.
“Enough, Jay. Sit down and keep your eyes on your plate if you can’t be polite.”
Jay’s eyes, defiant, lusting, caught hers. And then he sat and stared at his plate. What the hell had she walked into tonight?
“Alice. Please accept my apologies for Jay’s rather forward behavior.” Henry took a softer tone with her than with Jay, gentler, and his hand grazed her bare back. “The young are always in such a rush.”
She would’ve smiled if she weren’t so confused by their behavior tonight. Jay might have her birthday beat by eighteen months, but the impatience and immaturity she had shed still clung to him. Henry had a decade on Jay, but age wasn’t what set him apart. She imagined him mature and controlled even as a child. Dignified.
Henry tipped his head and captured her gaze. He was taller than she was. Not much. She might match him in heels, not that it mattered, since they weren’t dating and never would be. His height hit the sweet spot that made standing beside him exquisite, even if she’d never admit it aloud to the ones she turned down, the ones who weren’t the perfect fit.
Henry’s fingertips trailed over her spine, and she shivered.
“Except when they’re a bit skittish,” he murmured. “Is that what you are, Alice? Perhaps you’re feeling unsure of your place here?”
She couldn’t meet his gaze for long. His eyes invited her to drown in tender concern, implied an intimacy that made her nervous and needy. Jay proved no help, his focus locked to his plate.
“If you don’t wish to play, my dear, that’s fine. We three may still have a lovely dinner, and your longing looks will be no less welcome for the declined invitation.”
Her gaze flicked back to Henry’s. She wet her lips. Beneath the nerves welled a thrilling jolt, an anticipatory burst of glee.
“But there could be more if I want it?”
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M.Q. Barber likes to get lost in thought. She writes things down so she can find herself again.
Often found staring off into space or frantically scratching words on post-it notes, M.Q. lives with one very tolerant, easily amused husband and one very tolerant, easily amused puppy.
She has a soft spot for romances that explore the inner workings of the heart and mind alongside all that steamy physical exertion. She loves memorable characters, witty banter, and heartfelt emotion in any genre.
Thank you for joining us today! I hope you enjoyed this round of Meet the Characters and will join us again next week!