Hello, I’m Lou Sylvre. Let me begin with a heartfelt thank you to Jamie Fessenden for sharing some blog space with me and my characters, Luki Vasquez and Sonny James. They just finished a rather terrible misadventure in France, which you can read about in my latest Vasquez and James series book (#4), Saving Sonny James, released by Dreamspinner Press on 10/18. The couple are on a road trip—a trans-Atlantic, other-world-visiting road trip, which I agreed to only because they consented to take me along, letting me observe and chronicle their travels from the backseat.
They started in Paris, because that’s where Saving Sonny James left them, took the Chunnel train to Ashford, in Kent, England, and another train to London. They had rather a nice time in London. Before an evening of amiable ravishment (yeah, sex) at their historic hotel, they dined with Brian Harrison, young friend and former agent of Luki’s security business, whose stint there included a tough job helping to rescue Luki’s nephew in book 3, Finding Jackie. Brian is also the future love interest of the very same Jackie in at least one romance novel, but that’s yet to be—it’s incubating in my (Lou Sylvre’s) head while Jackie faces demons and comes of age.
Meanwhile, Luki and Sonny have just about had their fill of misadventure for a while, and they’re on vacation. Yesterday they checked in at the gate for their flight from Heathrow. Luki, of course, took charge as they stepped up to the desk.
“Luki Vasquez and Sonny James, with Vasquez Security, Chicago.”
Sonny mumbled under his breath but near enough Luki’s ear for his husband to hear and begin to be annoyed. “And employee of ATF, long arm of Uncle Sam.”
Sonny started to speak up… “New Y—”
But Luki interrupted, rather forcefully. “Providence.”
“Providence?” Sonny asked, looking perplexed and perhaps as though challenging Luki’s sanity.
“Yeah, baby. Providence. That’s the flight Jude booked for us.”
Luki sighed and rolled his eyes, turned to the desk agent, “Excuse me, maybe… ten seconds.”
“It’s first class,” he said to Sonny, exaggerating a patient tone.
“What happened to seeing the art museum, and Broadway, and—”
“You didn’t even ask me.”
“Jude and I wanted to surprise you, but I guess I’ll have to ruin that, now. We’re picking up your Mustang in Providence!”
“You know Jude,” Luki said, then in an aside to the desk agent, “She’s my admin, she can do anything.”
“So, Providence, then.” The airline employee and Sonny spoke almost in unison.
Luki nodded to the clerk and answered Sonny. “Yes. And from there we’re driving to New Hampshire.”
“New Hampshire… because?”
“I hear it’s beautiful there this time of year.” Luki stopped to show the young woman their passports and ID, and thanked her as he stepped away from the desk, their boarding passes in hand. “And Ms. Sylvre wants us to pick her up there.”
“Why do we always do everything she tells us?”
Luki sighed again, heading into the men’s room. “We don’t, but sometimes we have to let her have her way.”
“I’ll ask again, why?”
“Sonny, she’s the author. That’s why. And I guess she has a friend there.”
“At least she’s nice,” Sonny said, looking thoughtful.
Luki made a wry face—more expressive than Sonny was used to. “Sometimes,” Luki said.
The flight to Providence was long, relatively amiable, and uneventful. Smooth figurative seas continued as they got to the garage to pick up the ‘Stang and drove out of town. Sonny smiled as he negotiated the relatively uncluttered turnpike. Luki put on “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye and sang along in his sexy scratch, “…to keep me from getting to you, baby.” He was glancing through a paper from Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
“Hey look, baby!,” he said. “There’s a place in this town called Sonny’s tavern.”
“That’s what I said. What kind of place is it?”
“Well, let’s see. Hm. Says they’re having a honky-tonk jam tonight.”
“Perhaps we should steer clear. How about an art event?”
“Um… yeah. Here. It’s in Hampton… maybe that’s not far. An art walk with—no, never mind that already happened. But there’s something at the University… somebody made paintings based on somebody else’s poems. The artist is John Angelopolous, the poet somebody Simic. Art looks sort of surreal… Oh, wait, that was October 11th. Hm.”
“So,” Sonny offered. Maybe we should take a long drive in the woods. This part of the country reminds me of home.”
“Our home,” Luki said, very quietly.
Sonny took his eyes off the road while they waited for a traffic signal in the middle of nowhere to turn green. “Yes, husband. Our home. Always.” He offered his hand, and Luki entwined his own.
As they pulled away from the light, Sonny taking Luki’s hand along for the ride as he shifted gears, Luki cleared his throat. Still softly, he said, “I love you, Sonny Bly James.”
Sonny squeezed Luki’s hand and, being Sonny, said, “Yeah, you do, don’t you?”
Luki Vasquez and his still newlywed husband are back home after pulling off a harrowing desert rescue of their teenage nephew Jackie. But the events of the last couple of years have begun to catch up with Luki—loving Sonny James and letting Sonny love him back has left gaps in his emotional armor. In the gunfight that secured Jackie’s rescue, Luki’s bullet killed a young guard, an innocent boy in Luki’s mind. In the grip of PTSD, memories, flashbacks, and nightmares consume him, and he falls into deep, almost vegetative depression.
Sonny devotes his days to helping Luki, putting his own career on hold, even passing up a European tour of galleries and schools—an opportunity that might never come again. But when Luki’s parasomnia turns his nightmares into real-world terror, it breaks the gridlock. Sonny realizes what he’s doing isn’t working, and he says yes to Europe. Enter Harold Breslin, a dangerously intelligent artist’s promoter and embezzler whose obsessive desire for Sonny is exceeded only by his narcissism. When Harold’s plan for Sonny turns poisonous, Luki must break free of PTSD and get to France fit and ready in time to save his husband’s life.