Guest Author: Layla M. Wier

Hi Grace! Thanks so much for having me! This month I’m blog touring for my new novel

Held For Ransom, released Nov. 14 from Dreamspinner Press.

This might sound a little weird, but I really enjoy reading and writing about damaged

people. Most of us have a little damage, in large and small ways, and I think it’s easy to

relate to the struggle of someone trying to pull themselves out of the mud and darkness,

back into the light.

One of the two main characters in Held For Ransom is a character with plenty of damage

to deal with: Ransom, the handsome mystery man on a motorcycle who shows up in the

little town of Osmar, Illinois, and turns the townspeople’s quiet lives upside down.

Ransom is traveling around the country doing good deeds in atonement for past sins.

Meanwhile, Osmar’s annual winter carnival is sinking for lack of funding and

organization. When Ransom has a one-night stand with the carnival’s organizer, local

small-town kid DJ Lanning, it seems that he’s found his latest good deed — and maybe,

while he’s trying to save the carnival, the people of Osmar (and DJ in particular) can save

him in return.

Here’s an excerpt with Ransom giving DJ a small glimpse of his itinerant-wanderer past.

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Excerpt:

Just listening to DJ talk about the prosaic problems of his everyday, small­town

life was like a balm to Ransom’s battered, leaf­in­the­wind soul.

 

“But you don’t want to listen to me ramble about my boring life,” DJ said. “You

drove all the way out here from California. You must have had some amazing adventures

along the way.” His eyes were bright with interest, and that spark of excitement, the

innocent joy of it, tugged on something in Ransom’s chest.

 

Adventures. Yeah. That’s one word for it. “Traveling cross­country isn’t actually

that great,” Ransom said. “Especially on a motorcycle. Mostly it’s being wet and cold all

the time and never knowing if you’ll be able to find a place to spend the night. One time in

Colorado—” He broke off, choking on the words. He never talked about himself. He didn’t

dare. It was just too easy to slip up. He couldn’t let out a trickle of his past for fear it would

become a flood. One small, seemingly harmless anecdote would lead to another, and he

was afraid that before he realized what was happening, the whole story would spill out of him.

 

If Ransom had learned to be a good listener, it was because he never dared to

be anything else.

 

“Anyway, you said the carnival was—” Ransom began. But DJ shook his head

and reached out to shyly emulate Ransom’s fingertip­on­the­lips trick. His fingertip was

warm and dry, closing Ransom’s mouth with the lightest touch. It was startlingly intimate.

All Ransom would have had to do was open his mouth to flick it with his tongue.

 

DJ was blushing faintly, but he held his finger there until it was clear that

Ransom wasn’t going to say anything else. “Colorado,” DJ said firmly, and took his finger

away. His blush deepened, but he didn’t look down. He held Ransom’s gaze with his own.

 

“Colorado,” Ransom repeated. He hadn’t expected soft­seeming DJ to be so

stubborn. Well, it was a harmless little story. It couldn’t hurt, could it? And it would be

more suspicious if he refused to say anything about his past at all. “It’s not that

interesting, really. Just, I was riding along under clear blue skies when this storm blew up

out of nowhere. One minute I was cruising on these winding mountain roads, and then the

sky got dark and a gale came tearing down the side of the mountain. Next thing I knew, I

was having to fight to control the bike, and rain was sluicing down like the floodgates of

Heaven had opened up.”

 

“What did you do?” DJ asked, leaning forward. DJ really was a good listener. His

whole being was focused on Ransom, as if nothing else mattered in the world.

 

Ransom grimaced. Half of him was on the couch with DJ, the other half

transported back in time, breathless and freezing and scared. “I knew I was asking for a

wipeout if I kept tearing around in the storm. But with that wind and all those trees, I didn’t

want to stop either. I was pretty sure I couldn’t get my tent up in the wind, and even if I

could, it’d be just my luck to camp right under that one big old pine tree that was about to

let go, you know? Not to mention mudslides and that kind of thing. I kept hoping there’d

be a town around each bend, or a ranger cabin, or anything at all. But there was nothing.

Finally I turned a corner and here’s this driveway and a little house—more like a cabin

really—all lit up in the dark. By that time I didn’t care if Hannibal Lector himself lived there.

It was raining so hard I felt like I was gonna drown every time I opened my mouth, and I

had to drive so slowly that the bike kept trying to tip over.”

 

He dragged himself back to the present and found DJ staring at him, lips slightly

parted. “So it wasn’t some sort of backwoods axe murderer’s cabin, right?” DJ asked,

wide­eyed, when he didn’t go on.

 

Ransom laughed, and startled himself at how easily it came. He’d already

laughed more tonight than in the last week, he thought. “No, not at all. Actually, it was a

very nice retired couple who saw me dragging my mud­covered bike up their driveway

and came running out with umbrellas to help. They ended up wrapping me in blankets

and giving me soup and hot coffee.” Speaking of which, his coffee had gone cold. He took

a sip anyway. “And I hung around for a couple of days to help out with chores. A lot of

trees had blown down in the storm, and there was some damage to their roof and gutters,

stuff like that. I’m pretty good with a chainsaw from growing up rural, so I cut a bunch of

wood for them and fixed the roof before I took off again.”

 

“See, that’s what I’m talking about,” DJ said wistfully. “It must have been scary at

the time, I know, but what an adventure! I can’t imagine what that’s like. I couldn’t even

get lost around here if I wanted to. I know the roads too well.”

 

“See, that’s what I’m talking about,” DJ said wistfully. “It must have been scary at

the time, I know, but what an adventure! I can’t imagine what that’s like. I couldn’t even

get lost around here if I wanted to. I know the roads too well.”

DJ frowned thoughtfully. “Well, my friend Lee almost drowned in the river one

time when we were kids. Which was awful, of course. But that’s not really my adventure;

it’s his. And that’s kind of the story of my life, you know? My friends had adventures. I

didn’t. One time my sister talked me into shoplifting some candy bars from the IGA, and of

course, who walked in right then but the sheriff. I freaked out so bad I had to go into the

bathroom and throw up. When I came back out, they’d called my parents.”

 

Ransom smiled past the tightness in his throat. God. To have had that kind of

childhood. He could hardly imagine it.

 

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Held For Ransom

by Layla M. Wier

Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Length: Novel/200 pages

Release Date: Nov. 14, 2014

 

Blurb:

Two weeks before Christmas, the small town of Osmar is gearing up for its annual winter

carnival, but the death of the event’s long­time organizer might mean the end of the

festivities. Everyone is turning to her son DJ to save the carnival, but DJ can barely save

himself. He’s spinning his wheels in Osmar—working part time at the gas station, living in

his parents’ house, and trying to figure out what to do with his life. DJ is caught in a large,

loving web of well­meaning family and friends, but they can’t fix his life for him.

 

Into this mess comes Ransom, a handsome mystery man on a motorcycle. Ransom is

traveling around the country, making up for his past sins by doing “good deeds.” He and

DJ have a one­night stand that neither can forget, but that’s just the start, because

Ransom has a plan to save the carnival, and DJ has a plan to save Ransom… and

possibly himself.

 

Buy Links:

Dreamspinner Press: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?

products_id=5679

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Held­Ransom­Heatherfield­Layla­Wier-
ebook/dp/B00PAX6AMY

 

About Layla:

Layla M. Wier is a writer and artist who grew up in rural Alaska and now lives on the

highway north of Fairbanks, where winters dip to 50 below zero and summers yield 24

hours of daylight. She and her husband, between the two of them, possess a useful array

of survival skills for the zombie apocalypse, including gardening, blacksmithing, collecting

wild plant foods, and spinning wool into yarn (which led to her first Dreamspinner Press

novella, “Homespun”). When not writing, she likes reading, hiking, and spending way too

much time on the Internet.

 

Where to find Layla:

Blog: http://laylawier.wordpress.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Layla_in_Alaska

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/laylamwier

Tumblr: http://laylainalaska.tumblr.com

Stops on the Held for Ransom blog tour (Nov. 12­Dec. 1):

Wednesday, Nov. 12: Anne Barwell ­ http://annebarwell.wordpress.com/

Friday, Nov. 14: RELEASE DAY! Charley Descoteaux ­

http://cdescoteauxwrites.com/blog/

Monday, Nov. 17: Shae Connor ­ http://shaeconnorwrites.com/

… and **ALL­DAY RELEASE PARTY** on Facebook and WordPress:

http://laylawier.wordpress.com ­ https://www.facebook.com/laylamwier

Wednesday, Nov. 19: Grace Duncan ­ http://www.grace­duncan.com

Friday, Nov. 21: Jana DeNardo ­ http://jana­denardo.livejournal.com

Monday, Nov. 24: Anna Butler ­ http://annabutlerfiction.com/blog/

Wednesday, Nov. 26: Aidee Ladnier ­ http://www.aideeladnier.com/

Friday, Nov. 28: Sherrie Henry ­ http://sherriehenry.blogspot.com/

Monday, Dec. 1: Because Two Men Are Better Than One ­

http://becausetwomenarebetterthanone.com/

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