A Big Welcome for Ingela Bohm to Gay.Guy.Reading and Friends. Ingela has a character portrayal and she has also brought along a Giveaway.
Go to the Author Page for Ingela Bohm
The Guest Post: Jamie Gardiner: a charming chameleon with hidden pain
When I sat down to write this post, I knew that I wanted to write about Jamie, the guitarist in my Pax Cymrica series. What I didn’t know was how difficult that would be. He isn’t hard to write within the framework of the novels, but to pinpoint his traits in a blog post proved surprisingly hard.
I think the problem is that he tends to adapt to the people around him. If others are loud, he’ll be loud. If they laugh at a particular type of joke, he’ll laugh right along with them. If they’re angry, he’ll reflect that too. This makes Jamie less of a fixed character than most.
It also makes him musically spontaneous and responsive. He riffs off his bandmates in an almost uncanny way. He can make up beautiful solos on the spot, just drinking in what the others are doing and adapting to that. It’s his special kind of magic.
In most cases, this chameleonic quality is a good thing. In Release, however, he really screws up a gig precisely because of his propensity to improvise. What could have turned out fantastic instead falls flat, along with Jamie himself. Normally, he would be in his element in such a situation, but this time something’s wrong.
So what’s going on with him?
Well, being a big-hearted guy – warm, helpful and gregarious – Jamie is also prone to people-pleasing. In his ideal world, everyone is happy all the time, except maybe him. He bears his crosses almost without thinking, because as long as harmony is upheld, what’s a bruised heart? The past three years have torn him apart on several levels, but instead of tending to his wounds, Jamie glosses over his pain and pretends to be content.
It all begins in the first book, Just Playing, when his family moves from London to Swansea. A stranger in his new town, he chooses to make friends not with the cool people, but with Michael Vaughan. The two young men share a passion for complex music, and for Jamie, that’s more important than being part of a gang. He does still regret not belonging to a wider group, though. Since he’s naturally charming and capable of making people like him, it hits him hard to end up the target for jokes and hate. In contrast, Michael has always known that he’s an outsider. He never tries to hide that he’s different, the way Jamie sometimes does.
In the second book, The Road Taken, Jamie’s tendency to adapt forces him into a really bad situation. Hoping to lull the record company’s worry over Pax’s ‘gay’ image, he decides to be pretend-straight, something which sets a ball rolling that threatens to destroy everything the band has worked for. What’s worse, even when Jamie goes to such extreme lengths to cater to everyone’s wishes, he still can’t manage to keep them all happy. On the contrary, it attracts threats of blackmail.
The third book, Release, shows that even within Jamie’s own family, he feels out of place. They love him, but his dad doesn’t understand the choices he makes, and his mum turns out to have surprising secrets. The only one who manages to reach him is his sister, Kate. To begin with, she’s the typically irritating sibling, but as the series progresses, her role grows and expands. She pushes him where he needs to go, because despite their differences, the bond is strong enough to withstand some hard love.
That said, the most important family Jamie has is his band. In the rootless existence of touring, Pax is his home wherever he goes. They accept him unconditionally, and it’s with them that he really shines. Michael, Cal and their ever-changing parade of bassists make up a haven that Jamie can take refuge in when the rest of the world seems intent on breaking him.
It’s also because of them that Jamie finally decides to get better. If it was only his own heart on the line, he might go on self-destructing forever, but when he realizes that his behavior hurts both his band and his beloved Michael, it lends him the strength he needs to battle even the most horrid demons. For these guys, ‘soul mates’ is an understatement.
And being a sucker for soul mates, I won’t be satisfied until I’ve told their entire story with two more books. After all, the series is called Pax Cymrica: The True History, and I intend to follow them all the way into the sunset.
Pax Cymrica: The True History
- Book Title: Just Playing
- Book Series: Pax Cymrica: The True History, Book One
- Book Length: 315 pages
The Book Description:
Michael and Jamie seem fated to make music together. But the thrill of playing soon turns into something more, something neither of the young men can handle. Unable to just stay friends, they try to avoid each other completely. But when things start moving for Jamie’s band, a decision has to be made: either this is goodbye, or they risk everything and let Michael join.
Michael followed Jamie’s movements as he picked up a guitar and started tuning it. The wooden body lay so perfectly in his lap, like a lover waiting to be teased into song. Jamie was born to have an instrument in his arms, under his hands. Was that what the girls saw in him? Did they want to lie draped like that across Jamie’s knees, open and longing for his touch? The image sent a small arrow down Michael’s stomach and it caught fire in his groin. Oh shit. When was he going to get some control over his brain? Now wasn’t the time to think of girls. That was for tonight, for when he was alone in his bed. For when he’d slide his hand down his burning body and grasp himself firmly, exorcise those sinful feelings from his blood with hard fingers…
He crossed his legs. Ice cubes. Grass. Jamie’s sullen sister. Yeah, that worked. The heat died down somewhat, became a slow, dull ache. Soon it would be gone.
The sofa rocked as Jamie threw himself down beside him. He was grinning. “Whatcha hiding there, young man?” he winked at his crotch.
Michael couldn’t stifle an embarrassed giggle. “It’s the fucking heat!”
“Oh, so you’re not overcome by thoughts of my sister?” Jamie said, nudging him in the ribs and waggling his eyebrows.
“Please!” Michael mimed a shudder. “You may have the same genes, but you got all the charm.”
“Oh, so it’s me you’re hot for?” Jamie laughed.
“Can you just shut up about it? I’m trying to beat it down with a stick here, but you’re not helping.”
“Because I’m sooo irresistible,” Jamie goofed in a silly voice. “I’m sorry, I can’t help it!”
Jamie chuckled and started unbuttoning his jeans. Michael’s eyes snagged on the unexpected sight, widened in shock. “What – what are you doing?”
“As you said, it’s the heat. Let’s take care of it. You’re not too much of a prude to jerk off, are you? Then afterwards we can play and you won’t be all over the place.”
The Buy Links:
- Book Title: The Road Taken
- Book Series: Pax Cymrica: The True History, Book Two
- Book Length: 272 pages
The Book Description:
Michael and Jamie have one simple rule to follow: DON’T. Don’t touch. Don’t share rooms. Don’t even look at each other. But the music is suffering: the chemistry that made the band is gone, together with their happiness. What they need now is an innocent front, something to make people think they’ve broken it off. But when they ask Sapphire for help, they may just get more than they bargained for.
Jamie had almost gone to sleep, sated and dazed with his desperate fantasies, when there was a soft knock on his door. Groaning, he fumbled for his underwear but couldn’t find it. He gathered the covers around him and padded to the door, half in a coma. Leaning against the wall, he unlocked it and cracked it open.
The sight of Michael jolted him awake. Ruffled and anxious-looking like a homeless dormouse, he stood in the corridor in his pyjamas, holding a heap of clothes and bags in his arms. When Jamie opened the door fully he could see a shirt lying a few yards away. “Mike…?”
“Can I come in?”
“Forget it.” Michael started to turn away.
“No, wait, of course you can.”
“I’ll go to Cal’s room. He won’t mind.”
Well, that was a ludicrous lie. “Fucking… get in here!” Jamie gripped Michael’s wrist, pulled him inside. He peered down the corridor, made sure that no one had seen them. Then he wrapped the covers tighter around his body and hurried to retrieve Michael’s dropped shirt. Straightening up again with the abandoned-looking thing in his hands, he threw a glance at Michael. He was half hidden by the doorpost, fumbling and fussing over his chaotic luggage, trying to look busy. Something had happened. Jamie knew it with the sudden sucking ache in his chest. Why else would he come creeping to Jamie’s room like this – the one place he shouldn’t be? Michael wasn’t one to gamble, to risk everything for something as transitory as a single night together. He hadn’t come here to get laid, but to escape.
Jamie walked back, closed the door and then just stood there, hesitating. Michael was striving to look unaffected, pretending to look for something in his bag. Jamie smoothed out the shirt and laid it on a chair. Michael’s eyes flitted up and he forced a sheepish-looking smile. “I… I can sleep on the floor if you want.”
The Buy Links:
- Book Title: Release
- Book Series: Pax Cymrica: The True History, Book Three
- Book Length: 295 pages