Hard Act to Follow Playlist by K. Vale



Hard Act to Follow Playlist: If it Kills Me by Jason Mraz

Guest Post by Kimber Vale

Hey, all! Kimber Vale here to tell you about the musical inspiration for my latest release, Hard Act to Follow. If you know me and my previous Shooting Stars books, you know that music plays a huge role in my writing—heck my life. It’s true, Hard Act to Follow doesn’t have a musician main character, but my love of tunes always inspires me and this book was no exception.

For our first playlist post we have Jason Mraz’s “If it Kills Me.” I adore this song; I’ve loved it ever since I first heard it. Essentially, it’s a song about a guy who’s in love with his best friend. He wants to tell his buddy how he feels, but he’s afraid that if his love isn’t reciprocated, he’ll lose their friendship completely. There’s definitely this feeling of, should I, or shouldn’t I? And he’s leaning toward just hoping his BFF figures it out and he’s caught—because maybe the friend has been thinking the same exact thing this whole time, right? Maybe. Just maybe. But what if…?

Anyway, this song always appealed to me. And after I’d written a large chunk of Hard Act to Follow, I happened to rummage in my CD bin and fish out a Mr. A-Z disc and dive into this song once again. It was perfect. Still is.



“Something happen between you and Kyrie?”

Greg looked up sharply. “Did he talk to you?”

Gio gave a sad half-grin. “No. You’re sayin’ enough.”

Greg sucked in his upper lip and then released it with a popping sound. He gazed out over the verdant green of the course rather than make eye contact with Gio. This was much harder to say than his daydreams had made it out to be. “I’m not sure what to do with all this.”

“All what, exactly?” Gio cracked the knuckles on his right hand.

Greg could only shrug in answer.

“I mean,” Gio said, attacking the left hand next. Pop-pop-pop. “I’m happy to help ya however I can. You gave me advice when I needed it.” He tilted his head from side to side—pop-pop—and shrugged, apparently all out of both things to crack and encouraging words.

Greg scratched his chin and bit down on his discomfort. “We…Kyrie and I…you know.” He held his palms up. Come on, don’t make me say it.

“Played charades?” Gio made the okay sign with one hand and stuck his pointer finger in the hole with a wide-eyed expression that went completely against the motion.

Greg smacked his hands down. “You’re not making this any easier.”

“So, what? It was that bad, huh?”

“What? No… I mean… I don’t think it was bad.”

He thought it was bad?”

“No!” Greg expelled a loud breath and rolled his eyes. “I… no. I don’t think he did.”

“Well, it’s pretty easy to tell. Guys can’t exactly fake it like chicks can.” Gio patted Greg’s upper arm and twisted his mouth in sympathy.

Greg had a flash of memory: Kyrie groaning while he jerked jets of cream onto his own mocha abs, his sweet ass throttling Greg’s cock into surrender at the same time. He squeezed his eyes closed to block out the image. It didn’t work.

“No. It was good. No faking. The fake part came after.”

Gio waited, eyebrows raised and arms crossed over his chest. Greg glanced up the stairs. Lance walked by, looking down at them before continuing on with both drinks in his hands.

Fuck. “We were both drunk. But not, like, completely hammered. But… he pretended he didn’t remember the next day.”

Gio whistled long and low. He clicked his tongue and turned to watch two women rolling their golf bags over to the first tee. Greg wanted to unzip his skin and walk away as someone else.

“So what did you do?” Gio said after an uncomfortable silence.

Greg gave him an annoyed look. “I went along with it. I didn’t know what else to do. I can’t believe he would really black out the entire thing, so he must regret it.”

“Do you?”

“Do I remember?”

“No, numbnuts.” Gio laughed. “Do you regret it? Obviously you fuckin’ remember.”

God. Did he regret it? He regretted the fallout. He was scared shitless he’d lost his best buddy forever, not to mention his adopted family. But did he regret knowing what it was like to be that intimate with the one person who made his stomach ache and his whole being yearn?

Greg stared off to the side, watching a blur of emerald but not seeing anything. Finally, he shook his head. “I don’t regret it. I’m just scared I ruined a great thing trying for an amazing thing.”



Kyrie is an actor with a physical aversion to telling lies, a one-eyed cat, and horrible taste in men. His ex-brother-in-law and best friend, Greg, harbors a secret crush he can’t shake. After denying his feelings for Kyrie for too long, Greg finally gives in to desire one drunken night. Come the morning, the facts get twisted. Kyrie pretends he doesn’t remember a thing—a lie that eats him alive—and Greg can’t stop thinking about how he screwed up the best thing in his life.

Before they can clear the air, Kyrie follows his dreams to New York City, but could he also be running away?

A mistake from Kyrie’s past detonates their silence, and Greg is forced to confront the man he loves. Is their new truth strong enough to support a relationship, or are they doomed to crumble under old fears? Their friendship could evolve into something a million times stronger, but maybe Kyrie’s act is just too hard for Greg to follow.

“If it Kills Me” by Jason Mraz on YouTube:


K. Vale writes erotic romance of all stripes, from hot hetero to mouthwatering manlove. Find her MF work published under Kimber Vale. Come for the sex. Stay for the story. Stalk Kimber on Facebook and Twitter @KimberVale, and check her site for updates, new releases, and freebies at http://www.authorkimbervale.com. The blog: http://www.kimbervale.me.

Buy links:

Liquid Silver Books: http://www.lsbooks.com/hard-act-to-follow-p937.php

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Hard-Follow-Shooting-Stars-Book-ebook/dp/B00MUF78WQ/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1408454573&sr=8-7&keywords=Hard+Act+to+Follow

All Romance: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-hardacttofollow-1599620-149.html

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hard-act-to-follow-k-vale/1120133637?ean=9781622101337

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/hard-act-to-follow


Kimber Vale is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to celebrate her new release!

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