It's really wonderful to have author AJ Rose here today. Her Power Exchange series is one of the best series' I've ever read. When she release Restraint (Yesterday) which is the 4th book I was ecstatic!
She's here today to talk about this book and this series, you'll get to see them all, and there is a fabulous giveaway. So, enjoy.
From the moment Detective Gavin DeGrassi steps into the world of BDSM to solve the brutal slaying of Dom George Kaiser, his course is not his own. Mesmerized by the context in which the victim lived and the images seared into his soul, Gavin has to find a way to navigate these unknown waters. With his personal life in upheaval due to a marital split, and his professional life uncertain with the assignment of a new partner, Gavin needs all the help he can get understanding the case.
Enter Ben Haverson, a psychologist and a well known Dom. With Ben’s help as a consultant on the case and attention to Gavin himself, Gavin delves deeper than he ever thought he would into the world of restraints and paddles. Forced to take a closer look at himself, his true nature, and his innermost desires, Gavin has a choice: keep the fear of submitting at bay, or dive in and solve the case with the knowledge he gains? When another victim is discovered, Gavin’s choice is made for him, and he’s pulled headlong into the deepest, most emotional journey of his life.
Unfortunately for him and Ben, a killer has noticed, has taken stock, and has set his sights on the D/s pair. Can Gavin outwit him, or will his first exchange of power be his last?
Everywhere Detective Gavin DeGrassi looks he’s reminded of his attack by
the Breath Play Killer. It’s in the house he lives in with his partner
and Dom, Ben Haverson. It’s in the sympathetic yet pitying looks he
receives from his fellow detectives when he returns to the force after a
year-long hiatus. It’s in the suffocating coddling of his entire
family, and the relentless reporter demanding an exclusive of his
Most of all, it’s in his lack of submission to Ben, who
isn’t convinced Gavin’s recovered enough to trust the power exchange
The miraculous recovery of two teen boys from a
twisted kidnapper gives him heart, and Gavin's determined to prove he
can handle anything despite increasing strain between him and Ben,
painful nightmares, and panic when anyone touches him.
next case is too close for comfort: a friend and colleague found raped
and murdered in a fate chillingly similar to what could have been his
own, and this killer isn’t stopping with one cop. As the body count
rises and taunting souvenirs are being hand-delivered to Gavin, he faces
a frustrating lack of leads, a crushing need to prove himself, and a
sinking suspicion the imprisoned kidnapper’s reach is further than
originally thought. A miasma of uncertainty and fear threaten to
suffocate him when he asks a question with which he’s overwhelmingly
familiar: what happens when a victim is pushed too far?
Cole, what’s wrong?
Former detective Gavin DeGrassi likes his new life and his job as a university professor, molding the minds of the next generation of law enforcement. It keeps him in the field he loves, but out of the media and out of the danger he seems to draw. He’s settled and happy with his partner and Dom, Ben Haverson.
Until a middle of the night phone call from his brother, Cole, whose desperation and fear yank him back into the world of criminals and countdowns. Only this time, the stakes are much higher.
Detective Myah Hayes, Gavin’s sister-in-law and former partner, has a past of her own, one that has returned to claim her. With only their instincts and the help of a rogue CSI, Gavin, Ben, and Cole will do whatever it takes to find Myah, following a flimsy trail of evidence to Chicago, where all is not what it seems—dirty cops, moral pimps, and a nest of snakes who call themselves businessmen.
They’re on a collision course with the worst of humanity, and more than Myah’s life is caught in the vortex. Can they find her, and if they do, will there be anything left to save?
Warning: contains scenes of rape and graphic violence and may not be suitable for sensitive readers. Discretion advised.
Who brings a Glock on a honeymoon?
Not retired detective Gavin DeGrassi. When his husband Ben asks who he plans to shoot, Gavin has no answer. They’re spending three weeks in Ben’s family cabin near Seattle, not chasing down bad guys. Or are they?
Ben finds evidence the car accident that claimed his parents’ lives more than fifteen years ago was not so accidental. To avenge the Haversons, Gavin dusts off his detective skills and unknowingly paints a target on their backs. Suddenly, Ben is the prime suspect in a crime and the message couldn’t be clearer: drop the investigation or suffer untold consequences.
Gavin will stop at nothing to ensure Ben’s safety and bring the Haversons’ killers to justice, but without help, they’re sitting ducks. Gavin must make unlikely allies in his quest to clear Ben’s name and stop a ruthless crime syndicate. But with his loyalties divided, how far is too far in his quest for justice?
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It is so wonderful to have you back here on Diverse Reader.
You’ve been writing us some amazing words and it’s exciting to talk about what
you have in store for us. So, let’s begin.
Restraint is the 4th installment of your Power
Exchange Series. Did you ever see this series growing to 4 books? What was the
original intention for this series?
I never thought in a
million years, when Gavin fell into my lap while I was stuck in traffic, that
there would be enough about him and Ben to fill four books. And after the first
two, I said I wasn’t going to write more, not because I don’t love Ben and
Gavin, but because I didn’t have an idea to move their story forward. I’ve read
series where the first few books were interesting and great, but beyond a
certain number, their stories felt forced, as if the author had exhausted the
spark in the first few and was conjuring the rest to keep the series alive when
it was past its prime.
I never wanted to do
that, but each of the Power Exchange books has been a story idea that hit me
and wouldn’t let go. I had to write them, because the more I ignored them, the
more space in my brain they took up. But they’re also difficult to write.
There’s some pretty heavy subject matter in them, and they sort of wring me
out. The breaks I’ve taken between books have been necessary, but then when I
come back to Ben and Gavin, it’s like donning a favorite leather jacket after
the summer’s over. It’s like coming home.
How many years span from the first book to this book and
what were your timeline goals for that?
The first book was
released in 2012, and it’s set in that year. The fourth book is set at the end
of 2016, so four years in Ben and Gavin’s world. For a series that’s older than
five years (in real time) to still be doing pretty well in sales, it’s a
humbling accomplishment. When I started Power Exchange, I didn’t have any idea
it would become a series (and especially not a successful one), so I had no
timeline in mind. As each idea for the sequels came to me, I set them in real
time, and it followed Ben and Gavin’s relationship trajectory pretty well.
Restraint took me way longer than the others to write (mainly due to personal
and health issues), so by the time release rolled around, it’s a bit in the
past. But if there’s a 5th book (no promises!) I’ll worry about the
In Power Exchange (book one) and Safe word (book two) we
meet Ben and Gavin and are thrown into a whirlwind of thrills, chills, and dark
mystery. In Consent (the third and most dark) we are thrust into darkness, at
times a very rough read. What are we going to get with Restraint?
Restraint is much
lighter than the previous books, especially Consent. The nature of
mysteries—especially murder mysteries like books 1 and 2—is that the content
can be disturbing. People die, often brutally. But when I woke up one morning
to Ben whispering, “You haven’t told my story yet,” I knew I didn’t want to put
them through near as painful a wringer as the others. Not only did it feel like
too much for one couple to deal with, but after Consent, even I couldn’t handle
a lot of brutality. So with this one, as Ben’s background unraveled, it was
clear I could still have an impact, not by harming him or his loved ones
(much), but by challenging his usual finesse and grace. By flipping Ben’s world
on its ear and defying a fundamental belief he held, I could reveal pieces of
him, and especially pieces of Gavin, and do it without breaking them. In fact,
by yanking a rug from under Ben, I set up more than a few opportunities for
Gavin to build Ben up similar to how Ben did for Gavin. Gavin’s the strong
pillar shouldering Ben’s burdens this time. Gavin’s the voice of reason when
Ben wants to push past his own limits (or ignore them entirely). It was nice to
flip the script.
I have to ask this question because SO many of your readers
wonder it and I’d be doing them a disservice if I didn’t ask. WHY did you go so
dark in the third installment?
It was the idea that
came to me. What’s something that could happen that would make Gavin buck the
authority he’s spent his life upholding? Take away a loved one and then watch
while Gavin gets them back. I didn’t open the Word doc with the intention of
writing the darkest, most brutal thing I’d ever written. It just happened that
way. So I took Myah (Gavin’s best friend, former partner, and sister-in-law) away
from him, and the questions I asked myself—Why would someone kidnap Myah?
What’s in her past that made her a target? If their motive was two-fold (shut
her up as well as use her to further their own ends), where were they keeping
her? What were the conditions like?—the answers to those questions took me into
international human trafficking. From there, the story just went darker.
There’s no way to write a lighthearted story about a human trafficking ring. If
I was going to tell that story, I couldn’t pull punches. If I tried, it would
ring hollow. Following each question to its logical answer meant some tough
scenes for Myah, but even as I was thinking, “This might be too dark and
brutal,” Myah’s voice in my head said, “Keep going. This is my story. Keep
I know it’s a tough
read. For some people, it’s an automatic nope. I don’t blame them. There’s a
reason for the big gap between books 3 and 4. It kind of broke me, too. But I
also kept that in mind while writing Restraint, that a lot of people skipped
Consent, so any references to Myah’s ordeal and Ben and Gavin’s role in her
rescue are pretty clear. People don’t have to have read Consent to read
Restraint. It’s perfectly fine to have that gap in the middle. You won’t get
lost if you carry on reading the series.
Every time you’re asked this question you answer the same
but I’m going to ask again; is this the last book in this series?
I don’t know. I always
think, “That’s it. I’m done. I have no more ideas here. I can’t possibly deepen
their relationship further. They’re as close as they can get.” And then
something comes along months (or years) later and whispers its insidious little
devil voice in my head. “AJ. AAAAAJJJJJJJ. You miss us. You want to write us
again. You could write about thisssssss.” Then I find myself outlining another
Power Exchange book. After the first two, I was more public about saying no,
there wouldn’t be more. But I’ve learned my lesson. Never say never. If Ben or
Gavin or Myah or Cole or any other characters need their story told, it’ll hit
me one day.
What inspired you to write Restraint?
Ben. His voice in my
head was clear as a bell one morning. “Write my story. You haven’t told my
story yet. I’m wrong about how my parents died.” So after Kate, my wife, and I
did the school dropoff routine, I floated an idea to her, and she got the most
evil, satisfied, Cheshire cat smile and said, “Dooooo eeeeeet.” The more
details I gave her, the more excited she seemed, so I knew the idea had merit.
Kate doesn’t blow sunshine up my ass. If a plot doesn’t hold together, she’ll
say so. The more I told her, the more it solidified in my mind, and even the
setting was crystal clear.
I’m a very visual
person, so when an idea takes hold, I see it like I’m watching a movie, and in
this movie clip, I saw Ben and Gavin on a supposedly relaxing trip in territory
familiar to Ben. He was standing at a bank of windows in a vacation home,
looking at a body of water without seeing it, and the expression he wore…. It
was so haunted. If he’d not been so heartbroken, so stunned, and so completely
furious, he’d have been able to cry. Ben doesn’t cry, and for him to be so
upset he’d choose to cry instead of feeling how he did in that helpless,
horrified moment, I knew I had it. I had the book’s mood, and the book’s hope
all rolled into one.
Can you tell us what you’re currently working on or future
Recently, we’ve been
to visit my parents quite frequently to help my mother while my father’s been
sick. My grandmother lives with them, and one of her favorite things is the
Hallmark Channel. Every time we go, I end up getting sucked in by the storylines,
most of which are pure cheese, feel-good romance, or cozy mysteries. There’s
not really a lot of action in these stories, but they have an uncanny knack for
grabbing my attention. It’s not just me either! Both Kate and my sister were
just as pulled in as I’ve been.
I made the comment to
Kate that we should write a series like some of those Hallmark shows, centered
around a small town where everyone’s lives are entangled in one way or another,
and make it more diverse. And our Flaming, MO series was born. On the 6 hour
drive home, we came up with basic plots for between 8-10 stories we could
reasonable tell, which fall into classic tropes we all know and love, and are
set in a fictional town we’ve dubbed Flaming, Missouri. It’s set in the Lake of
the Ozarks and we’re having a lot of fun plotting the finer details. Kate and I
will write the books together and hopefully capture the feel-good magic similar
to that of the Hallmark Channel (but with more swearing and sex, because we’re
also honest with ourselves).
For me, it’ll be a
challenge. I don’t see myself as a straight-up romance writer. I like action,
explosions, and chase scenes. To write something completely character driven,
where behaviors move the story forward rather than action is becoming a more important
goal for me to stretch my writing chops. I love psychology, and people do the
craziest things, but it doesn’t need to revolve around murder and mayhem. I’m
really looking forward to it.
I’ve had several
people ask about the Long Fall of Night Series, and while I have plans to
continue that tale, it’s on hiatus because the research at the moment is too
politically charged. My wife’s green card restrictions are being scrutinized
before they can be lifted, and I can’t justify doing the research for that book
while we’re both under observation for her residency status. There are still
stories full of murder and mayhem on my future WIP list, for sure, but none of
them are ready for me yet, so the Flaming MO series is getting the nod right
How can your readers follow your work and upcoming projects:
Twitter, FB, Instagram, etc…?
I’ve just revamped my
website, and the new address is https://ajrosefiction.com (I finally grew up and got my own domain).
You can find all the information there about my books, Kate’s and my shared
Patreon, sign up for my newsletter, and more. I’m not on social media as much
as I once was, but I still lurk around Facebook and Twitter, and I do keep track of my messages. Or you
can email me at email@example.com.
FAST FIRE QUESTIONS
Love or trust? Both.
Can’t have one without the other.
Favorite color? Purple.
Coffee or tea? Coffee
mostly, but I do love a specific British tea.
Favorite nonalcoholic beverage? Coke.
Day or night? Night.
Place you’d love to visit? Scotland.
Cats or dogs? I’m more
of a dog person, but we have a cat, and I do love him even if I rarely admit
it. Cats are growing on me. We even talked about getting another one. Then we
came to our senses. But my dog is the reason I get out of bed in the morning.
Seriously. If I don’t, she pees on the floor.
Okay, AJ, thank you SO much for being here! Everyone is so
excited for this book I wish you all the luck!
AJ Rose will give away 1 digital copy of the whole series to someone who hasn't read any of them, and 3 digital copies of Restraint to people who have read the first ones.
Contest will end on May 4th
a Rafflecopter giveaway