Thanks to Gay Book Reviews for hosting me during Play Hard’s release week! I’ll let the Lads take it from here. 🙂
– Avery Cockburn
Hiya! I’m Liam Carroll, and I’m here with my best mate/partner, Robert McKenzie. You may remember us from Playing With Fire (Glasgow Lads Book 3), which told the story of how we went from friends to lovers, then back to friends, then back to lovers, then ¯_(ツ)_/¯ and finally boyfriends.
A year’s gone by in our world, and things are pretty fantastic, except Robert is a bit too devoted to work, and I’m a bit too devoted to avoiding work. But being at a sort of crossroads means we get a followup novella, Play Hard, so you can see how we live happiER ever after!
Robert: You can also learn how we first became friends in primary school. Unsurprisingly, it involved Liam making trouble for our teacher.
Liam: There’s also loads of sex (in the present time). Luckily we’ve no shame whatsoever.
Robert: Speak for yourself. Anyway, we’ve apparently been asked to do an interview. Thanks to the Rainbow Regiment Facebook group [link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/258758988316580/] for providing most of the questions. The group is named after the loyal fan club for the Woodstoun Warriors, our all-LGBTQ football team (“soccer” to you Americans, Canadians, Australians, etc).
Interviewer: Welcome, guys. Robert, in Playing With Fire we watched you come out as bisexual. So I wanted to ask Liam about his own coming-out. How old were you and how did it go?
Liam: I was thirteen when I told Rab here that I was gay. He was the first. I was kinda hoping he’d say, “Me too—let’s kiss!” but alas, he didnae.
Robert: It was another eight years before I kissed you.
Liam: Totally worth the wait. So then when I was fourteen, I told my ma.
Interviewer: How did she react?
Liam: She crossed herself, looked up at the ceiling, and said, “Thank God.” See, she got pregnant with me when she was still at school, so I think she was pure chuffed I’d never put some poor lassie in the same situation.
Interviewer: Do you still camp out now and then or has life moved you away from that?
Robert: We always camp at Loch Lomond in November, round the anniversary of my dad’s passing. He used to take us there. It’s not ideal weather for sleeping outdoors, but it’s important to us to honor him this way.
Liam: Last year Rab wanted to try glamping—which is like camping but in posh wee cabins—and I said, “Away with that.”
Robert: Just once I’d like to not have to pish in the woods. And I’d like to actually be warm.
Liam: We keep pretty warm in our conjoined sleeping bags, mate.
Robert: smiles Aye, we do.
Interviewer: Liam, how would you react if someone made a pass at you at the pub? Has that reaction changed over the years?
Liam: Well, like all good bartenders, I’m dead friendly, and sometimes people misinterpret that as flirtation, especially after a few pints. Mostly women, cos it’s not the sort of pub where guys chat up other guys if they want to walk out on both legs.
Interviewer: Robert, apart from your current project you’re working on in Play Hard, which of your video games are you most proud of?
Robert: Definitely “Tom’s Tower,” which I made for Liam after his previous boyfriend, Tom, broke up with him. Basically, Tom gets locked in the Tower of London for being a traitorous bastard. He tries to break out of the tower, and you, the player, have to keep rebuilding the walls of his cell as he tears them down. As you level up, you earn special weapons like Super Glue and the Ghost of Anne Boleyn.
“Tom’s Tower” was later repackaged for the public as “Tower of Spite,” where players can customize their captive to make it look like whoever they want—an ex, their boss, politicians, etc. It’s been my main source of income for the last two years, which is the other reason it’s my favourite, cos I like to eat.
Interviewer: How did Robert’s love of rubber duckies come about? Was it a childhood favourite like a blankie or stuffed animal would be? And just how many duckies does he have?
Liam: Aww, that’s an amazing story, so it is.
Robert: Is it?
Liam: It all started when we were fifteen, and Robert’s girlfriend, Josie—I mean, she wasnae officially his girlfriend, he just wished she was—she’d nicked two bottles of Buckie and a packet of cigarettes from her ma, and the whole lot of us—Rab, me, Stevie G, Stevie Mac, Stevie T who we called Craig-Stevie cos he looked like a Craig, Posh Gerry, Ellie, Neddy Gerry, Logan, Ginger Ellie, and Angus— was all behind the Tesco—the old crap one, not the shiny new one—and Rab got pure hammered and challenged Posh Gerry to see who could swim fastest across the Forth and Clyde Canal, cos he thought Josie was flirting with Gerry and even at such a tender age Rab was a massive fan of monogamy, and so he and Posh Gerry jumped in the canal—which isnae very wide or deep, but people have still died trying to cross it—I mean, you can drown in a bathtub, so stranger things have happened.
Liam: And so they’re halfway across, neck and neck, when Josie starts hollering about this pink rubber duckie she sees floating amongst the sticks and all, and Rabbie thought she wanted it, so he took a wee detour to grab it for her, thinking it’ll win her heart, and just as he got near it, the duck came unstuck and started floating downstream, so he follows it, right, and we’re all cheering, and Logan and Wicked Petey—I forgot to mention Wicked Petey before, but he was there—they started chanting, “We’re in a frenzy for Rab McKenzie!” and the duckie’s still bobbing along just as smug as fuck, right, and it’s going faster and faster, and Rab’s having to dodge all sorts of shite, cos you’d be shocked at the rubbish people used to chuck in the waterways before we all got green-aware. shakes head sadly
Interviewer: So what happened?
Liam: So Rab keeps swimming and swimming and finally just when he’s almost out of sight, we see him hold up the duckie and wave it in the air like, “Yaaaaaaaasssss!” Then he climbs up on the far bank and makes his way back—of course there’s bushes and trees and, like, abandoned lawn implements, so it’s not an easy stroll—and just before he gets to Josie, we all go pure quiet and stop our cheering and chanting, cos Josie and Posh Gerry are full-on snogging! And Rab bursts out of the underbrush like fuckin’ Indiana Jones, holding up the duckie in some kinda triumph, only to see he’s lost his pseudo-girlfriend because he went the extra mile—like, literally.
And I remember thinking, even then, if I was lucky enough to belong to Rab and him to me, I wouldnae have done that to him. takes Robert’s hand Not for anything.
Interviewer: That’s quite a story.
Robert: Aye, and it’s also complete mince. I started collecting novelty rubber duckies my first year at university as a joke, and it became a thing. I just think they’re cute, is all.
Liam: Hmph. Well, I think we should let readers decide which version is the truth. I know which one I believe.
Thanks to the Rainbow Regiment for providing such fun questions, and thanks again to Gay Book Reviews for hosting our Lads! Hope they didn’t leave a mess.
Feel free to ask Liam and Robert more questions in the comments. And enter below to win a copy of the Glasgow Lads Books 1-3 box set, which includes three novels and an essential short story.
You can also sign up for my newsletter at averycockburn.com/signup to download a FREE copy of Glasgow Lads prequel novel Play On, in both its original and author-commentary version!
Title: Play Hard (Glasgow Lads #4.5)
Author: Avery Cockburn
Publisher: Avery Cockburn
Cover Art: https://damonza.com/
Release Date: April 23rd, 2019
Genre(s): Romance, Sports
Page Count: 127
Reviewed by: Kirstin
“I’ll always want more of you.”
Robert McKenzie lives to work. He’s fresh out of university as a video-game entrepreneur, and his new app could actually save lives. But burning the candle at both ends means missing out on the best parts of his own life—including his boyfriend, Liam.
Liam Carroll works to live. His job as a bartender pays the rent—if not always the heating bill—and that’s plenty for now. But Robert’s workaholism reminds Liam his own life is going nowhere, and his own dreams are scaring the pants off him.
To jolt them out of their ruts, Robert invents a new game: He and Liam are to take turns offering each other sexy new challenges with irresistible rewards.
Of course, Robert gets more than he bargained for, as Liam takes their game in one surprising direction after another. Whether it’s in the bedroom, on the football pitch, or at the pub (or even the supermarket?), the things they learn about each other—and themselves—could change their lives forever.
Play Hard is the feel-good, staying-in-love story the world needs right now!
Note: This happier-ever-after novella features the main characters of Playing With Fire but can be read as a stand-alone story.
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Glasgow Lads series
Hiya, I’m Avery Cockburn (rhymes with Savory Slow Churn). Under my real name (Jeri Smith-Ready) I wrote over a dozen novels for major publishers. As an indie author, my days are filled with beautiful men who play beautiful games in the most beautiful place in the world. Thanks to my pure awesome readers, it’s pretty much the best job ever.
I live in the United States with one infinitely patient man and two infinitely impatient cats. Join my quarterly-ish newsletter to receive a free book plus loads of exclusive bonus material. Cheers!FACEBOOK NEWSLETTER GOODREADS TWITTER WEBSITE FAN PAGE MORE REVIEWS