As my cowriter, Racheline Maltese and I, are now three books into the Love in Los Angeles series, we are learning to navigate assumptions, both by characters and by readers, about concepts, tropes, and opinions around issues like cheating and relationship styles like polyamory. Because we write love stories that involve both realistic hurdles and unconventional choices some of our books — including Phoenix — contain both.
Polyamory refers to consensual non-monogamy. While there are lots of types of consensual non-monogamy — swingers are one example — polyamory generally refers to a relationship where the people involved in that relationship may have other romantic and/or sexual partners together or separately.
Liam and Carly, the supporting couple in Love in Los Angeles, for example, have a polyamorous relationship: they are married, but they both have other partners, boyfriends, and girlfriends. They also have agreements and arrangements as to what they each are, and are not, allowed to do with partners who are not each other. Paul and Alex, the main couple in Love in Los Angeles on the other hand, are monogamous; their agreement with each other is: no sexual relationships with other people. No matter what the agreements are, as long as those agreements aren’t broken, nobody’s cheating on anyone regardless of whether that relationship style is a good fit for anyone else — in fiction or in real life.
But there is, reader be warned, cheating in Phoenix. It’s not a relationship-ending mistake; and the couple works their issues out. In Love in Los Angeles not all happily ever afters look the same, but all characters do get one.
Now happily married to writer and producer Paul Marion Keane, television star J. Alex Cook’s life has been a fairytale of success and romance for years. But when an unexpected tragedy throws his and Paul’s social circle into chaos, the alumni of hit TV show The Fourth Estate are forced to pick up the creative pieces left behind.
…is just the beginning
Confronted with his own mortality, Paul suggests he and Alex start a family. But figuring out what family means when your best friends’ polyamorous marriage may be melting down and you have Hollywood’s most malevolent fairy godmother to thank for your success is no easy proposition.
As Alex questions whether anyone in a profession full of make believe can truly have fame, fortune, kids, and the happily ever after of their dreams, he sets out to take control of his own life and discover that the best love stories never truly end.
Phoenix is Book 3 in the Love in Los Angeles series.
Erin McRae is a queer writer and blogger based in Washington, D.C. She has a master’s degree in International Affairs from American University, and delights in applying her knowledge of international relations theory to her fiction and screen-based projects, because conflict drives narrative.
Racheline Maltese lives a big life from a small space. She flies planes, sails boats, and rides horses, but as a native New Yorker, has no idea how to drive a car. A long-time entertainment and media industry professional, she lives in Brooklyn with her partner and their two cats.
Together, they are co-authors of the gay romance series Love in Los Angeles, set in the film and television industry — Starling (September 10, 2014), Doves (January 21, 2015), and Phoenix (June 10, 2015) — from Torquere Press. Their gay romance novella series Love’s Labours, set in the theater world — Midsummer (May 2015), and Twelfth Night (Fall 2015), is from Dreamspinner Press. They also have a story in Best Gay Romance 2015 from Cleis Press and edited by Felice Picano. You can find them on the web at http://www.Avian30.com.
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Alex’s eyes flutter shut when Paul slides his hands into his back pockets and pulls him closer. They’re not dancing so much as grinding together, but they’re hardly alone in that regard—at least they still have their shirts on, and if Alex is willing, Paul has absolutely zero desire to stop.
Paul can’t hear it, but he can feel the breath of a moan on his neck when Alex gets insistent about digging his fingers into Paul’s hair while he mouths at the skin above his collar. Six months apart, with only two weeks in the middle, was a very long time, and the time they’ve had since has barely been enough to get used to sharing space with each other again, much less fall back into their relationship with all their knowledge of each other’s bodies and hearts intact.
“This is possibly a stupid idea,” Alex murmurs at some point.
Paul isn’t sure how much time has elapsed since things crossed into slightly inappropriate but totally expected territory. “I don’t think you care.”