Melting PointIf you’ve listened to the XOXO After Darkcast, you know we’re already big Kate Meader fans here–but with the release of her new e-book, MELTING POINT, our fandom burns even brighter! Today Kate tells us how Gage’s story in the “Hot in Chicago” series started…and read on for an excerpt of this sexy tale.


Five foster kids. Four guys, one gal, all firefighters following in the footsteps of their legendary foster father. Meet the Dempseys of my Hot in Chicago series, a tight-knit band of siblings who play hard and love harder. It started, as it so often does, with an idea. Write three sexy stories about hot men and strong women, and include a gay romance subplot arcing over those longer books—two romances for the price of one! Then something happened: Gage Simpson. My out and proud cocky firefighter started stealing every scene in the first book and his story took on a life of its own.

With the release of Flirting with Fire, Book 1 in the Hot in Chicago series, Gage quickly became a fan favorite. Readers loved him, my editor loved him, I loved him. It didn’t take long to recognize that there was nothing secondary about Gage and Brady’s story and it was too big to be confined in the pages of a subplot.  So the novella, Melting Point was born. But even though their romance starts in that first full-length Hot in Chicago book, I’ve written the novella in a way to ensure it’s a standalone. You might enjoy it more if you have that background, but it’s not necessary.

People often ask if the writing process for a gay romance is different than a het one. To be honest, no. The real challenge was telling a full romance in a shorter format. I was sure I didn’t want to write a story that focused on one of the characters being closeted because I felt that it’d been done, and a lot better than I could do it. Instead we have a clash of mindsets. Gage is an eternal optimist, a bit of a playboy, and the peacekeeper in a family of Flirting with Firehotheads. One of the other characters christens him “Baby Thor” so I think you have an idea of just how gorgeous he is! Brady is his complete opposite: scarred inside and out, tortured by a past he can’t shake. He doesn’t get why someone like Gage—young, hot, the sun in every room—would be interested in him. It’s so much fun watching the usually confident and chatty Gage become undone by surly, close-mouthed Brady. I hope you take a chance on the sexy, funny firefighter who talked his way into his own book, and the broody Marine-turned-chef who turns his world upside down.

Ready for even more spicy fun? Check out this excerpt from Melting Point…but be sure you have an extinguisher nearby!

Brady searched his face, maybe for assurance that he’d done the right thing in showing up unexpectedly. In taking action. His lips parted, there was a flash of pink tongue, and Gage couldn’t have sworn in a court of law who made the first move, but their mouths slammed together. Tongues and lips fought for control. Gage’s hands moved over Brady’s ass as he kissed him like it had been months since they’d seen each other instead of just this afternoon. It felt as though the events of a million lifetimes had happened in the last eight hours, and while Gage wouldn’t be sharing that verbally, he wanted to share it some other way.

I’ve missed you. I need you. You’re all I can think about.

He broke away, a tangle of thoughts struggling to find voice. But his expression must have given away his desperation. Brady hooked a big hand around his neck and drew his thumb in a sensuous line along Gage’s jaw.

“Something happen?” He had this dark look on his face, like growly Liam Neeson when he was threatening those kidnappers with his “particular set of skills.” So hot. And Gage whining about his problems was only going to redirect the situation from fun-times-ahead to not-getting-dick-anytime-soon.

“Nope, unless you count how I was settling in for a lovely sleep this morning when I got a call about this fidiot who’d fallen off his bike because apparently he has the attention span of a squirrel. Then the fucker has the nerve to blame me and I wasn’t even there!”

“My dick knows who’s at fault here,” Brady muttered.

Gage laughed. “You, Chef, are getting funnier. Want a drink? A dance?”

A shy grin transformed his forbidding features. “Just you, Golden.”

Whoa. The way he said that was like a lick over Gage’s balls. “Is that Brady Smith or the incredibly powerful drugs speaking?”

Brady frowned. “Not expectin’ much, Gage. Know I don’t have a right to after the way I strung you along, but shit”— he placed his hand flat over Gage’s thundering heart and shook his head as if he couldn’t believe he was admitting things—“I’m a helluva lot more cheerful when you’re around, and that’s got to count for something.”

“This is you being cheerful?”

Brady’s laugh whooshed through Gage like a hot blast from a vented roof. “This is me.”

“And what about the touching thing?” This morning’s fun in the shower notwithstanding, he needed to know that a not-high Brady would be down with Gage’s very hands-on methods.

“I have some . . . control issues.” At Gage’s smirk of duh, he rolled his eyes. “Yeah, I know. If I’m in charge, then I get to decide what you can do to me. What you can touch. And see.”

Like his scars, Gage assumed. Maybe more.

Brady’s brow furrowed. “Gage, guys like you don’t go for guys like me. When we were together before, I felt like I was your good deed of the month.”

Anger flared. “It’s late and you’ve been high for considerable portions of the day, so I’m going to pretend that you haven’t insulted both of us with that statement. Pity is not a turn-on for me. I screw guys who get me hot and push my buttons, and you, Brady Smith, push all my buttons. The only good deed I’ll be doing tonight is for the angels.”

“The angels?”

“Haven’t you heard? Every time I make you come, an angel gets his wings.”