The Dream Men of Oberon

When I first heard about the theme for this blog hop, I had only one thought: Oberon. No, not the King of the Fairies from A Midsummer's Night's Dream, which would have made perfect sense as well.  I'm talking about Oberon, California.

In case you don't know, Oberon is the fictional town in which my very first series takes place. The series has nine very dreamy heroes and starts and ends at Midsummer, so I knew I had to come up with something Oberon related for this post--but what?

Well, as it happens, for the last two months, I've been running a contest on Facebook to pick Oberon's Sexiest Man of the Month. I've decided to post some of the highlights here--questions and answers by the heroes of the first five books in the series. And pictures, of course. There have to be pictures!

Want to play along? Cast your vote for your favorite hero in the comments section and you'll be entered to win a copy of the Oberon prequel, Such Fleeting Pleasures!

Welcome to Round one of Oberon’s Sexiest Man! Nick, Sam, Dan, I'd like to thank you all for being here and I'm going to open with the most obvious question: What do you think makes you the sexiest man in Oberon?

Sam: I'd say experience, sophistication, a good sense of humor, an ability to roll with the punches. Not to take anything away from these other fine gentlemen, but I have lived a more cosmopolitan life than they have, at least until recently. Most of all, I’d say it’s the way I treat the woman I love. I make every effort to make Marsha feel like she’s the sexiest woman in Oberon. Because she is. 
Dan: You know, Sam, there’s experience and then there’s experience. I think we all know what I’m talking about—not to put too fine a point on it. 
Nick: Yeah. Better not put too fine a point on that, Dan, or Lucy’ll put a fine point in you. 
Sam (nodding): Hide the steak knives.
Dan: Laugh all you want, guys. But, c’mon. You know what they say. Practice makes perfect, right? And I’ve had a lot of practice. Why do I think I’m the sexiest man in Oberon? Because I am. Ask anyone.
Nick: Just don’t ask when his wife’s around. I don’t want to have to cover up a homicide.
Dan: I think you mean “another homicide” don’t you, bud?
Nick: I have no idea what you’re talking about.
Sam: Ah, I believe we’re still waiting for your answer, Nick.
Nick. Ah, good point. Okay, well, first of all I’m Italian. That gives me an edge right there, don’t you think? I am passionate about everything: cooking, driving, my family, my career, love. But most of all, I’m passionate about the woman in my life. I’d do anything for her. And I do mean anything.

Okay guys, it's time for Question #2: Strawberries, whipped cream, or handcuffs? Why?

Sam: Strawberries—with champagne. The combination is as sweet and intoxicating as my woman. I see us naked in the grass, sunlight dappling her skin as we feed each other berries. After a few minutes, I’ll dip a strawberry in champagne and stroke it over her skin. I’ll follow up with my mouth, licking the berry juices and the wine off her body very, very slowly…
Dan: Okay, WTF? Sam, are you like…reading my mind or something? Because that is so my thing. Except, why do we have to choose strawberries OR whipped cream? I’m telling you, PG darlin’ that’s just plain wrong. They belong together, obviously—anyone’ll tell you that. But if I have to choose just one, I’m gonna have to go with the whipped cream. You really can’t go wrong with whipped cream.
Nick: Handcuffs? Really? I think you must have me confused with someone else on the force. But, you know what? They are handy. And I can think of at least a couple of occasions when they’d have been damn useful. Okay, wait. That probably came out sounding a little more stalkery than I meant it to.

Here's Question #3: What would be your perfect date on a rainy day in Oberon?

Sam: Honestly? I have to tell you, I’m not a big fan of rain right now. But, as long as we’re not talking about flood conditions, I can’t think of a nicer way to spend a rainy day than being at home together—just the two of us. We’d soak in the hot tub, share some tea, maybe read poetry to each other.
Dan: Poetry? Damn it, you are reading my mind. 
Sam: Maybe. That’s what comes of living with a witch, you know.
Dan: Yeah? Well it’s also cheating.
Nick: Might be kind of hard to prove though.
Dan: No kidding. You go first. I have to think about this a little more. I don’t like the rain either. It’s entirely too dangerous.
Nick: Okay. Well, I don’t mind the rain—as long as you keep out of the canyons, there’s no reason anyone should run into trouble. It’s exhilarating. I think we’ll drive out to the coast. There’s a diner there where we used to go back when we were first dating. She loves their milkshakes. 
Dan: All right, I’m ready now. First thing I’d do is crank up the heaters in one of the greenhouses. Then I’d fill it with tropical plants, order up some food from the Temple Garden and create our own, private, tropical getaway right there in the nursery. Damn. I don’t know why I never thought of doing that before.

Question #4: If money were no object, what would you buy your girlfriend/spouse?

Sam: Money is no object. And anything she wants. Personally, I’m partial to jewelry because that’s something she secretly loves but hardly ever buys for herself. 
Nick: I’m partial to jewelry too, come to think of it. But I think I’ll go with a weekend getaway—just the two of us. There’s a place on the coast she’s really fond of. Or maybe we’d go to Paris, take in a few art museums. (turns to Sam) See? Cosmopolitan is easy.
Sam: I never said it wasn’t. I merely pointed out that it would be sexy. And I’d also like to point out that one of our most memorable dates involved feathers, ice cubes, silk scarves and a blindfold—all things she already had on hand. It doesn’t take a lot of money to be sexy.
Nick: Uh-huh. Tell me something else I don’t know. (turns to Dan) You want to weigh in here?
Dan: What would I buy my wife if money was no object? I dunno, driving lessons, maybe? Or an armored tank? 
Nick: Man, you’re gonna need that tank for yourself, if you can’t come up with something better than that.
Dan: True dat. But I can always talk her out of a bad mood and that doesn’t cost a thing either. 
PG: So, Dan, that’s your final answer? Driving lessons and a tank?
Dan: I think so. That and chocolate. Oh, and maybe a lifetime supply of lavender ice cream.

Question #5: What song best describes your life and why?

Sam: That would be "Angel Mine" by Cowboy Junkies.
 And the why is obvious. It reminds me of my angel. 
Nick: Yeah, this is definitely an easy one. I'm going to pick "I Know You’re Out ThereSomewhere" by the Moody Blues.
 I can’t even tell you how many times I used to listen to that song during the years Scout was away. 
Dan: "You’re Still the One" Shania Twain. 
And, babe, I’m sorry if I messed up on that last question, but you are still the one and always will be.
PG: Uh, guys, these songs are great, but they’re supposed to describe your life--not the ladies in them. 
Dan: Oh, like there’s a difference? That woman is my life—and you damn well know it.
Nick: I totally agree. But, fine. Here’s one. It’s a perfect driving song and sexy to boot: It’s AC/Dc’s "Fire YourGuns". 

Dan: Damn. That is sexy.
Nick: Yup. I’m not here to fool around. I’m here to win.
Sam: All right, in that case I’m going to go with "Lucky" by Melissa Etheridge because I’ve always been very lucky in my life.

Nick: You just had to get that Angel reference in there too, didn’t you?
Sam (winks): Yes I did. You’re not the only one who’s here to win, you know.
Dan: Yeah? Well, you can both get ready to lose because here’s my choice: "Sixty Minute Man" by Billy Ward and the Dominoes

Nick: Well, hell.
Sam: I have to admit, I’m impressed.
Dan: Damn straight. I’m not fooling around here either.

We’re back with round two of Oberon’s Sexiest Man. Dan is continuing on to this round, joined by Ryan and Adam. Let’s get started, shall we? Here’s your first question: Do you believe in love at first sight or do you believe it's fate? 

Adam: That’s easy. It’s both.
Ryan: Bullshit. It’s neither.
Dan: *shakes head* C’mon, you guys. I know you’re both new to this, but you have to at least try. 
Adam: New? Would you care to clarify that?
Ryan: Hey, the bigger they are, the harder they fall. Bring it on.
PG: Okay, guys, settle down. Dan? Want to show them how it’s done?
Dan: Love to. For me, it was love at first sight—no question. One look and I was a goner. I won’t say I’ve never looked at another woman—
Ryan: ‘Cause we’d never believe you.
Dan: As I was saying, we all know I have. 
Adam: Understatement.
Dan: Hey, I like to watch—I’m not going to deny it or apologize. But that’s beside the point. There’s never been another woman who’s affected me like that. Not before, not since, not ever. 
PG: Very nice answer. Adam? Ryan? Either of you want to expand on your answers?
Adam: Certainly. Like I said originally, it’s both. I was fated to meet my soulmate when I did. I knew she was coming. I dreamed her into my life. And when I first laid eyes on her? I fell even more in love with her. It was an instantaneous reaction and yet, the truth is, I knew I loved her before I met her. 
Ryan: Yeah, yeah. You and Savage Garden. I still say it’s bullshit. I believe in chemistry, okay? There’s probably a whole range of complicated biological reasons for why we’re attracted to one another. But looks aren’t everything and, you know what? It’s a damn good thing they’re not too. ‘Cause there’re all sorts of complications in the world.
Dan: Complications? You mean, like…oh, I don’t know, identical twins, perhaps?
Ryan: Yes, now that you mention it. That’s exactly what I mean. Identical twins. That’s every guy’s fantasy, right? Well, put them together with love at first sight, and you’re looking at a world of pain, brother. A world of pain. And as for fate…you know, I think love would be a whole lot easier if any of us were really fated to be together. It would be a whole lot simpler. But is it? Hell, no. Instead we got hurt feelings, we got confusion, we got conversations—which more often than not lead to even more confusion. There’re complications all over the damn place. Love’s kind of a pain in the ass, you know? I’m not saying it’s not worth it, but fate? Hell, no. Fate would make things a whole lot simpler.

Okay, next question: What books to you have on your bed side table right now?

Adam: The Alchemist’s Kitchen, World Atlas of Wine and Smart Parenting for Smart Kids.
Dan: The Alchemist’s Kitchen? Really?
Adam: Yes. Why?
Dan: Oh, no reason. 
PG: Dan?
Dan: Uh, sure. I just have one, at the moment, but it’s big and very...comprehensive. The Encyclopedia of English Limericks. 
Ryan: Not the Kama Sutra?
Dan: Nah. Got it memorized.
PG: Ryan?
Ryan: Right now…Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and a Guide to California Marine Life
PG: Is that it?
Ryan: Um…oh, yeah. One more. Stronger Than Steel
PG: Sounds interesting. What’s it about?
Ryan: *shrugs* It’s about recent advancements in bulletproof vest technology. What? I have a very keen interest in the subject.

Oberon's Sexiest Man competition continues with Question # 3: What is your favorite part of a woman's body?

Ryan: Her mind.
Adam: Oh, FFS. Seriously? Do you expect anyone’s going to believe that?
Ryan: What can I say? I’m sapiosexual, all right? Intelligence turns me on.
Dan: *chuckles* That may be so, but I still don’t think that’s the kind of thing they’re asking for.
Ryan: *shugs* Whatever. How about…I know. Her eyes. No wait. Even better. Her hair. You know the way it feels when it’s wrapped around your hand? Yeah, that’s it. Gotta love that.
Adam: I’d have to say her legs. And, just so you know, if we’re talking about the way things feel when they’re wrapped around you? You can’t beat a great pair of legs.
Ryan: And she does have nice ones.
Adam: Excuse me?
Ryan: Twins, remember? I have practically the same set at home. 
Adam: And your point? 
Ryan: I’m just saying they’re nice, that’s all.
PG: Dan? You want to maybe weigh in here before things turn ugly…or uglier?
Dan: Well, I’m trying to decide. You know I hate choosing. I mean, one part’s better than the next—how am I supposed to pick just one? But I guess…I’ll have to say…her mouth.
Ryan: Because of the way her lips feel wrapped around your…?
Dan: *smiles smugly* Because the sweetest words come out of it.
Adam: Right. So neither of you are taking this seriously. Is that it?
Dan: I don’t know what you’re talking about.
PG: I think we’ll move on now…

Things are heating up around here. And at this point it's anyone's guess who's going to win this thing. (I've already lost track!)  Very well, gentlemen. If you were to make a romantic dinner, what would you make?

Dan: In my opinion, there’s nothing more romantic than a picnic. 
Adam: A picnic? Doesn’t that seem a little too…oh, I don’t know. Casual?
Dan: Well, there are picnics and then there are picnics, if you know what I mean.
Ryan: No, not really. 
Dan: *sighing*Look, I’m talking about finger foods, all right? I’m talking feeding each other, teasing each other. You know, like Tom Jones.
Ryan: The singer?
Dan: No. The novel. By Henry Fielding. 
Adam: I think the movie’s better.
Dan: Possibly. You could be right about that. Oh, and al fresco. It’s not an absolute requirement, but if you can do it, it’s a nice touch.
Adam: Yes, because nothing says romance to a woman like bugs and rocks. 
Ryan: Uh…well, when you put it that way, I hate to say it, but he might have a point.
Adam: *rolls eyes* Whatever. It still seems a little too casual for my tastes.
Dan: Not at all. “A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread--and Thou Beside me singing in the Wilderness-- Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!” It’s not casual, it’s classical. Besides, I haven’t even mentioned the most important part yet. It’s also clothing optional.
Ryan: Now that would definitely make a difference, as far as I’m concerned. How about pizza? That’s always good. Or maybe Cioppino. It was invented right here in California, after all. Plus there’s nothing sexier or more romantic than warm fish stew on a cold, rainy day. Plus the two of you can make it together. That’s romantic, right?
PG: Adam? What about you?
Adam: *sighs* You do realize I’m at a serious disadvantage here, don’t you? I am married to the best cook in Oberon after all.
Dan: No offense, but I’d say that’s debatable. Have you tasted my wife's cooking?
Adam: My point still stands. What could I ever make for Sinead that could possibly be better than what she can make for herself? Or for me.
Dan: A picnic, like I said. Not a lot of cooking involved and you really can’t go wrong with it. Besides, you already have the wine.
PG: I’m sorry, Adam, but you have to say something.
Adam: Very well. I’d order in. I’d get hold of someone who’s also, reputedly, a good cook and who’s known her most of her life and get him to prepare all her favorite dishes. 
Dan: You have someone specific in mind, I assume?
Adam: Absolutely.
Ryan: And you think he’s gonna do all this for you…why, exactly?
Adam: I’m not above using bribery to get what I want. Or even a little bit of blackmail, if I have to. 
Ryan: Cause nothing says romance like coercion.
Adam: I prefer to think of it as "all’s fair in love and war". It’s the fact that I’d be willing to go to so much effort and to such extreme lengths—that’s what she’d find romantic. Besides, what’s family for? 
Dan: Yeah, I’m not even touching that one.

All right, gentlemen. Here's your final question of the day: If you had a recipe for love what would it include?

Dan: The right woman. Once you find that, the rest’ll just fall into place. Assuming you’re smart enough to recognize her once you meet her, that is.
Adam: Oh, I hear that.
Ryan: STFU. Both of you.
PG: Uh, guys? Can we be serious here for a little while longer?
Dan: I was trying to be serious. If you don't have the right woman, you have nothing. And even with love at first sight, there are times when you don’t realize what you’ve got until you come too close to losing it. 
PG: So your answer is…?
Dan: The right woman. Enough sense to know when you’ve found her. Compatibility—
Adam: In bed? 
Dan: Well, sure. That goes without saying. But it’s important outside of bed as well. Also communication, commitment, and friggin’ nerves of steel; because even the right woman is going to do things that’ll scare you shitless at times.
Ryan: Amen to that. 
PG: Adam? Ryan? Do you have your answers ready?
Ryan: Yeah, everything he said less communication. It’s nice if you can get it, but it’s kind of overrated. There are more important things.
Dan: Such as?
Ryan: I dunno. Body armor and a good sense of humor?
Dan: Fair enough.
PG: Adam?
Adam: Two souls. One dream. A little bit of magic. And whatever else is necessary to make that dream a reality.
Ryan: Aw, that’s nice. But aren’t you leaving a couple of things out?
Adam: I don't think so. What, for example?
Ryan: Oh, you know. Things like a telescope and a bottle of tequila.
Adam: *clenches jaw* Twins. They really do talk too much don’t they?
Ryan: *grins* They really do.

This summer, ALL nine books in the primary series (not the novellas...yet) are going into print for the very first time! To commemorate this momentous occasion, I've dubbed the second half of 2013 "Oberon's Endless Summer". I'll be hosting a variety of fun events both here on my blog and on my Facebook Group page The Crone's Nest.