Cast Off

KC Burn
Cast Off

Dreamspinner Press
Release Date
September 2013
Book 3 of Toronto Tales
Contemporary Romance, LGBTQ

Thirty-five-year-old Rick Haviland is a well-respected speech pathologist, but while his friends are all settling into relationships, he refuses to give up his no-strings-attached club boy sex life. For him, relationships are dangerous; he's got a secret to hide. When he meets Ian O'Donnell, an account manager with a local tabloid, Rick figures his personal rules for relationships should be enough to keep him safe from more than a one-night stand.

When Ian comes out of the closet, tired of anonymous hook-ups and keeping secrets from his large Catholic family, Rick is right there, and he's just the sort of man Ian might like to get to know better.Their attraction is immediate, electric and mutual. Ian convinces Rick to break more and more of his rules, and his defenses crumble. But someone watches, someone who'd like to see this new relationship fail. When Ian's job becomes a means to expose Rick's secret, it could destroy both their careers and their hearts.

BOOK INTERVIEW on November 2013
Interview by J9

Hi KC, welcome to The Romance Reviews! We can't wait to hear all about your book!

Q: CAST OFF is book 3 in the Toronto Tales series. What was the inspiration for this series? Please tell us more about it.

I usually envision scenes mid-book, and I have to figure out how to wrestle them into a story. For this series, I had two reference points. Although in the books neither ended up exactly as I envisioned, I saw a cop (Kurt) going to inform the family of another cop's death, and unexpectedly finding a man who forces him to confront his sexuality. The other scene was the sight of a police car parked at a house in a college town where the cop clearly had roommates and I wondered how a cop would deal with minor legal infractions from roommates. From those two scenes, Cop Out and Cover Up were born. CAST OFF grew organically from events and people who populated the first two books.

Q: What made you set this book in Toronto?

Well, I lived there for most of my life! I moved to the US when I was 34, which was only 7 years ago. I know Toronto well, so I was comfortable with the setting, neighbourhoods, culture, laws, public transit, geography, weather, morals, etc.

Q: Please tell us more about speech pathologist Rick Haviland. His career choice tells us a lot about his character. Why did you give him such a profession? What research did you need to do to write him so well and realistically?

The interesting thing about Rick and Ian was that they both showed up in the two previous books, but I hadn't defined occupations for either of them. Gave me a lot more flexibility when I started writing CAST OFF!

For Rick, I needed an occupation that allowed him to work from his home. As soon as I realized how tragic Rick's past was and how hard he tried to hide from it, I knew I also needed a profession that had the potential to be affected by scandal. Working with kids as a consultant seemed a good choice. Of course, there are several options, but one of my dearest and oldest friends works with a speech pathologist to help kindergarten kids who have delayed language issues. I discussed the profession with her work partner.

Q: Did you know from the beginning that club boy Rick was deeper and more complex than he appeared? Please elaborate.

I suspected in Cop Out that Rick had hidden depths. In his minor cameo in Cover Up, I was certain, but I wasn't exactly sure in what way. It wasn't until I decided on Rick's tragic history that I was able to fully see Rick as a complex and damaged man.

Q: What about Ian O'Donnell? Please tell us more about him. What challenges did he face in coming out?

Ian's challenges coming out seem to be minor. After all, his brother Kurt came out in Cop Out, and the family was very accepting. Ian shouldn't have had any issues, and yet, he'd hidden that part of himself from everyone for so long, he had a very hard time bringing those two halves of personality back into an assimilated whole, no matter how accepting his family was. He blamed his brother Kurt for his emotional upheaval, but he also knew deep down it wasn't his brother's fault, and that caused a huge load of guilt.

Q: What made you think Ian and Rick would be a good couple?

Haha! I didn't. They first hooked up during Cop Out, and while it seemed like a nice little aside, it wasn't until they showed up in Cover Up (sometimes when I write, stuff just happens--I don't do a lot of planning ahead of time) that I realized there was some push-pull between them that spoke of something more than hooking up.

Q: What were the challenges of having closeted-Ian and party-boy Rick as a couple?

The biggest challenges were that not only were they both afraid of relationships, but they initially wanted different things from life.

Q: What is their most romantic moment?

There's a point when the seriously commitment-shy Rick offers to let Ian hang a picture in his house, as a promise he'll be ready to consider living together soon. It's a tiny little scene, but there's something about it that I found romantic and endearing.

Q: What is your favorite scene?

I have a lot of favourites, but I tried to find an excerpt that was at least mostly clean (I swear like a sailor and it shows in my writing). This occurs during the housewarming party where Rick meets Ian's mom for the first time and panics, which ultimately makes him do something stupid.

Here's the excerpt. Enjoy!

He'd just picked up the glass, bringing it near enough to his mouth that the fruity scent of the Chardonnay tickled his nose, when an older woman walked in. She was a little plump, but she had a cheery, serene face, almost like Mrs. Claus. She bore enough of a resemblance to both Ian and Kurt that there wasn't much doubt as to her identity.

"Well, hello, honey." She inspected him from head to toe, and Rick considered the possibility of playing dead. This was shaping up to be the worst night ever. "You must be Rick."

How had she known that? Rick opened his mouth, but nothing came out. It was high school all over again. His heart hammered as sweat popped out on his upper lip.

"I'm Deirdre O'Donnell." She smiled her sweet smile, but Rick knew how easy it was for those motherly types to show fake smiles and speak poisoned words to a world that only saw sugar and honey.

He managed a nod, his larynx paralyzed.

"My son described you perfectly. A hot, outrageous blond." Her grin got wicked. "I very much like your shirt."

Rick glanced down, relieved he wasn't totally naked, although he was wearing a tailored burgundy dress shirt made out of sheer, transparent fabric, tucked into pants tight enough to read the veins on his cock like a phrenologist. He'd even put on some eye makeup this evening, smudgy black and sparkly burgundy to accentuate his clothing. But in the cross-hairs of the O'Donnell matriarch, he was lucky to remember his own name, he was so fucking freaked out. Sweat continued to form on his face and under his armpits.

"Oh, there's the hummus." The wily Mrs. O'Donnell grabbed the dish Rick had been told to bring to the living room. "My Sean's been asking. Loves the stuff, he does." She pinched his cheek before she left. "We'll chat later."

Rick stood and trembled in the wake of Kurt's... Ian's mother. This time his hand shook so bad, wine sloshed out and onto the floor.

Damn, damn, double damn. Instead of grabbing a paper towel, he took a deep breath. Several deep breaths. Dealing with doting mothers--real or fake--through his work was one thing. He was able to mentally prepare for each one. Stupidly, he should have expected Kurt's parents to show up at the housewarming, but he hadn't prepared, not at all, and he'd been thrown back to that awful time in high school where he'd been incapable of speaking to anyone at all.

He raised the glass and took a swallow before setting it carefully on the counter. He sang a few bars of a simple nursery rhyme, an exercise he'd been given when his voice had started to return. Hearing himself vocalize put his emotions on a more even keel, and he finally grabbed some paper towels to wipe up the spill.

It wasn't until he was squatting down, wiping at the floor, that he remembered what Mrs. O'Donnell said about him.

Which son had told his mother Rick was hot?

Q: Ian's loving, teasing family are large parts of this book and book one in the series. What was your inspiration for them? Would they play cameo roles in future books?

Nothing in real life inspired them! I'm an only child whose parents are divorced, and a mother who is not at all supportive. My two best friends growing up (who are still my dear friends) were both only children, with divorced parents. We've all since garnered step- and half-siblings, but when we were young, we were the sisters none of us ever had. Maybe the O'Donnells were produced from wishful thinking! I'm amazed and awed that the O'Donnells have seemed to touch the hearts of so many, because they were fabricated out of nothing more than my heart and mind. But they almost seem like part of my family now, so I can easily see them showing up in future books.

Q: What was your inspiration for the tabloid newspaper that Ian works for that plays a role in trying to publicize Rick's past?

I always ADORED the Weekly World News. I was devastated when they stopped production, and I even own a copy of their last issue. I remember, as a laugh, my hubby (then boyfriend) and I took one of the quizzes about "how to tell if your neighbor is an alien" and when we took it, we realized that most of the criteria applied to us. WE were the aliens! So awesome. Possessed dolls, the sasquatch, Bat Boy, I loved the absurdity of it all. So, giving it a shout out wasn't much of a stretch. I add the celebrity tabloid angle when I realized I wanted something that had the potential to not only expose Rick's secret but would also be so sensationalist that it would seem normal for it to do so.

Q: I've really enjoyed all three couples from this series. Do you anticipate revisiting any of the couples, perhaps in a novella?

Well, I think there are a few loose ends that need to be tied up! In fact, I'd hoped to do so in CAST OFF, but the timing never seemed right. So, yes, I could easily see a novella in the future.

Q: Please share your future plans for this series. Please give us a sneak peek, if possible.

So many things on the slate! I will likely never have enough time to write all the ideas that rattle around in my brain. However, it shouldn't be hard to see that I'd liked to find a man for Jon. The ex-stripper businessman who ends up part-owner of a gay club... I see a lot of potential, and have a little idea about how he's going to find his man.

Q: What's up next for you?

Next up (and it may already be out by the time this interview comes out) is Pen Name: Doctor Chicken. It's a contemporary romance with comedic overtones, and it was inspired by... an online random word generator. But that's a story for another time.

After that, I've got another sci-fi coming out in May, I'm about ready to submit a paranormal romance to one of my editors, then on to another contemporary.

Wow, you've been busy! Thanks for taking time out to talk to us about your latest novel. It's a pleasure to have you with us!

Heads up!
Check out the review for CAST OFF!
from J9!


KC Burn has been writing for as long as she can remember and is a sucker for happy endings (of all kinds). After moving from Toronto to Florida for her husband to take a dream job, she discovered a love of gay romance and fulfilled a dream of her own--getting published. After a few years of editing web content by day, and neglecting her supportive, understanding hubby and needy cat at night to write stories about men loving men, she was uprooted yet again and now resides in California. Writing is always fun and rewarding, but writing about her guys is the most fun she's had in a long time, and she hopes you'll enjoy them as much as she does.



Cop Out

Cover Up

Spice 'n' Solace

Alien 'n' Outlaw

Trompe L'oeil


KC is giving away 2 ebook giveaways of CAST OFF! Thanks, KC!


For all Featured Book Interviews, TRR is sponsoring a prize!

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Archangel's Legion by Nalini Singh
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From Ice Wagon to Club House: The Life of Jude Mooney by Viola Russell
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That Pearly Drop by Jianne Carlo
Claiming Tara by Laurie Fitzgerald
Cast Off by KC Burn
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