In 1915, starstruck Jack Abadie strikes out for the gilded streets of the most sinful town in the country—Hollywood. With him, he takes a secret that his country hometown would never understand.
After years of hard work and a chance invitation to a gay gentlemen’s club, Jack is discovered. Soon, his talent, matinee idol good looks, and affable personality propel him to the height of stardom. But fame breeds distrust.
Meeting Wyatt Maitland turns Jack’s life upside down. He wants to be worthy of his good fortune, but old demons haunt him. Only through Wyatt’s strength can Jack face that which keeps him from being the man he wants to be. Love without trust is empty.
As the 1920s roar, scandals rock the movie industry. Public tolerance of Hollywood’s decadence has reached its limit. Under pressure to clean up its act, Jack’s studio issues an ultimatum. Either forsake the man he loves and remain a box office darling, or follow his heart and let his shining star fade to tarnished gold.
Nominated by readers of the GoodReads MM Romance Group as Best Historical of 2013, and Best Book of 2013. Tarnished Gold also placed fifth in Historical category in the 2013 Rainbow Awards.
Buy it today!
Reviews for Tarnished Gold
Five Stars from Ben T. – “Words cannot express how very, very much I love this book. From the very first word until the last, I was swept up into Jack’s life and have recently read it again! It was like visiting an old friend. LOVE THIS BOOK! One of my favorite MM books of all time!”
Jefferson Parish, Louisiana
April 15, 1917
JACK ABADIE stared into the old, beat-up mirror as he shaved, noting the beads of perspiration as they dripped into the lathered shaving soap. Though he’d already bathed, he’d worked up a sweat just scraping the razor across his face. Summer already. Seemed Mother Nature had completely forgotten about spring.
Jack smiled though, because soon Louisiana weather would be a distant memory.
He noted the dark circles under his eyes. No wonder. He hadn’t slept for days. Pleasant thoughts of Emery lying next to him, their bodies entwined, had filled the only hours he’d had to himself.
Willswood Plantation didn’t run itself. “You have to help around here more,” his father kept telling him.
Between the long hours he worked doing every conceivable job on the place, then having to tend to family obligations, there wasn’t a moment he could steal for himself, save for late at night.
Jack would have left sooner, but with his father’s mysterious cough getting worse and his stubborn ass resisting every effort to force him to the doctor, Jack’s mother depended upon her two sons to pick up the slack. He’d either break away now, or be stuck for the rest of his life.
“Hey, brother. Happy birthday, old man.”
Jack stared into the mirror at Andrew’s smiling face. He’d miss the boy; they were best friends, but he had to have a life that was his own. “Yeah, thanks. Thought you were out in the fields.”
“I was, but I came in with Papa. He caught a spell out there, couldn’t catch his breath. Figured I’d come to see you, but it looks like you have plans. Big birthday date with Bessie?”
Jack’s stomach knotted. “Yeah. Emery and I are meeting the girls in town.”
Andrew’s eyes darkened, the unmistakable conspiratorial look on his face. “Sure, Jack. I’ll tell Mama and Papa you’re meeting Bessie.”
Though they’d never talked about such personal things, Jack had long suspected Andrew knew about him and Emery. How, he couldn’t say; it was just a feeling. “Thanks,” he said quietly.
“Yeah, well, I’ll leave you to your getting ready. See ya. Have fun.”
“Thanks again. I appreciate it.”
Andrew waved and bounded out the door. Jack watched after him. Sadness welled inside him. He’d miss his brother, hell, he’d miss them all, but a man was entitled to his dreams, and they didn’t come knocking. He had to go after them.
Actually stepping outside the house for the last time would be the hardest part, his mother innocently thinking he’d be back for dinner. Once gone, he’d focus on himself and Emery. Damn it, they deserved a life together, and they certainly couldn’t live on good old Willswood. They’d scrimped and saved for two years, while they’d planned their new life, and it was about to happen. The train would take them to sunny California. Emery would work while Jack took acting lessons, and one day, he’d be a star.
Since the day he’d seen Wallace Reid in The House of Silence at the Prytania, all he could think of was going to Hollywood and becoming a star. Maybe one day he’d even meet his idol.
Jack checked his pocket watch, a birthday gift from his father. The train would leave at six thirty, and with the three-hour leeway they’d allowed, they’d get to New Orleans Depot with little time to spare.
Andrew, his unwitting accomplice, would make it easier to get past his parents and out of the house, before they forced him to damn himself to eternal hell with more lies.
Jack could barely button his Sunday shirt for his trembling fingers. He donned his waistcoat and trousers, already feeling hotter than he had just out of his bath. Before he slipped into his church coat, he applied pomade to his unruly hair, then raked a comb through. He’d always admired the shine of Wallace Reid’s hair and did his best to emulate it every Sunday for church.
He ticked off another box on his mental checklist. Dressed and ready to go. He’d already hidden his meagerly supplied valise behind the barn.
He cast a gaze around the dusty, cramped attic room he and his brother had always shared. His unmade bed made him wonder how easily he’d take to another one. On impulse, he fluffed up his pillow and put it back in place. Bad enough his mother would find his farewell note propped up against it, no need for her to see the impression of his head to make her even sadder.
He so wished he could have the life he wanted without hurting those he loved, but sadly, he saw no other way. Years of working in the cane fields was no life for a guy with his ambitions.
About the author
Born in a small town in Upstate New York, Brita Addams has made her home in the sultry south for many years. In the Frog Capital of the World, Brita shares her home with her real-life hero—her husband, and a fat cat named Stormee. All their children are grown.
Given her love of history, Brita writes both het and gay historical romance. Many of her historicals, as well as few contemporaries, have appeared on category bestseller lists at various online retailers.
Tarnished Gold, the first in her Tarnished series for Dreamspinner, was a winner in the 2013 Rainbow Awards, historical romance category. It was also nominated for Best Historical and Best Book of 2013 by the readers of the Goodreads MM Romance Group.
Brita and her husband love to travel. They’ve taken no less than twenty-five cruises and countless long car trips, as well as completed a Civil War battlefield tour, and visits to many sites involved in the American Revolutionary War. Their 2013 anniversary tour of England, Scotland, and Wales gave Brita fodder for many new tales.
On a trip to Hollywood, California, Brita stood in the footprints of some of her favorite actors—Clark Gable, Henry Fonda, Tyrone Power, and many others, at Grauman’s Chinese Theater, and has even kissed Mickey Rooney.
A bit of trivia—Brita pronounces her name, Bree-ta, and not Brit-a, like the famous water filter. Brita Addams is a mash-up of her real middle name and her husband’s middle name, with an additional d and s.
Readers can find Brita Addams at any of the following places:
Also by Brita Addams
After Preston Meacham’s lover dies trying to lend him aid at Salamanca, hopelessness becomes his only way of life. Despite his best efforts at starting again, he has no pride left, which leads him to sell himself for a pittance at a molly house. The mindless sex affords him his only respite from the horrors he witnessed.
The Napoleonic War left Benedict Wilmot haunted by the acts he was forced to commit and the torture he endured at the hands of a superior, a man who used the threat of a gruesome death to force Ben to do his bidding. Even sleep gives Ben no reprieve, for he can’t escape the destruction he caused.
When their paths cross, Ben feels an overwhelming need to protect Preston from his dangerous profession. As he explains, “The streets are dangerous for men like us.”
Tarnished Souls (second book in the Tarnished Series)
Hollywood’s Golden Age is not all glitz and glamor. Mob boss Frankie Monetti controls the unions and the studios, which makes him and the syndicate very rich. But after five years, Frankie runs afoul of the law andthose who put him in power.
Primo hit man, and Frankie’s lifelong friend, Arvin “Gent” Vitali, goes west with orders to clean up the mess and then bring Frankie back to New York to answer for his double cross. But as the noose closes tighter around Frankie’s neck, Gent questions where his loyalty truly lies. Is business just business or is freedom worth the risk?
On a whim, Boston doctor Bryan Newcastle books a Caribbean cruise for gay men, hoping for two weeks of sexual exploration with someone who’ll bring out the daring soul inside him.
With a simple slide of a keycard across a table, newspaperman Phil Sanderson plunges Bryan into a world of sexual freedom where longing for more comes as naturally as breathing. As Phil takes Bryan to new heights, the cruise ends with so much unexplored.
During a visit with Phil in Des Moines, Bryan receives a call that changes everything. Together, they travel back to Boston, but Phil’s protective nature gets in the way of Bryan’s need to handle tragedy in his own way. While Bryan struggles to come to terms with all he thought real about his past, Phil must trust that Bryan is strong enough, or he might lose the best thing that’s ever happened to him.
I’m offering a signed print copy of Freedom in His Arms and a swag pack to a random commenter. Important: Comment must be substantive, and not just “Count me in.” Deadline is April 30, 2014.
Interview with Holly Hewson
HH: Brita, thank you so much for talking with us at TRS. Your featured book is Tarnished Gold. Where did you get the idea for this sizzling tale?
BA: Thank you, Holly, and TRS for having me. To answer your question, I love old Hollywood, always have. Old movies have something about them that has always fascinated me. I’ve read every book I found on the Golden Age and discovered wonderful and often sad stories about the actors and actresses that made the movie industry what it was in those days.
I wanted to create a story about a young man who, for very personal reasons, couldn’t live in his hometown. He loved movies, and thought that Hollywood was a place where he could live the life he wanted, without the scrutiny of family and friends.
I also wanted a story that spanned many years—to take the character from a naïve young man to a mature one, buoyed by the experiences he lived through but also somewhat cynical.
The other aspect of this book is that it is more along the lines of a biography than a high angst love story. I love biographies and have read thousands of them over my lifetime. While Tarnished Gold is a romance between two men, it is very much Jack Abadie’s biography. The conflict and tension comes from the changing attitudes in Hollywood and across the country at the time. Jack and Wyatt circle the wagons when the world comes knocking, which is very much how I live my life.
I don’t think that because you have a romance, you have to have the formula. As a matter of fact, I work hard to not work according to formula.
What formula? By page ten the main characters meet. Page 50, they slip into bed. Page 150, they have a huge blowup that separates them. Page 195, we better get them back together. Page 200, the lived happily ever after.
If the formula works, great, but in Tarnished Gold, it simply didn’t. Not for these characters and not for this story.
HH: What do you like best about Jack and what will readers like about him?
BA: As the book progresses, Jack grows and matures. He starts out wide-eyed, on his way to Hollywood to be a big star. With the bumps in the road, he resigns himself to a possible life as a waiter.
This story takes place between 1915 and 1934, with the epilogue in 1953. Hollywood was not only accepting of gay and lesbian actors, but they revered them in the early days. As time went on, being gay in Hollywood meant hiding, lavender marriages, lying to the public and to one’s self.
Tarnished Gold follows Jack on his journey. Even while he explored his sexuality, Hollywood changed, given the country’s sentiment that, following the scandals that rocked Hollywood in the ‘20s and early ‘30s, they wanted Hollywood to clean up its act. With the Hay’s office and the institution of morals codes and morals turpitude clauses in contracts, many homosexual actors vanished from the national stage, ex: Ramon Novarro.
Jack, when confronted with the order to marry or lose his acting contract, stands up for his relationship with Wyatt Maitland. His faithfulness touches a place in my heart. I love a man who stands for something, and Jack Abadie is one of those men.
HH: What do you like best about Wyatt and why will readers love him?
BA: Wyatt Maitland is a rather quiet man, comfortable in the background. When Jack and Wyatt met, Wyatt worked as the public relations man at the Million Dollar Theater in Hollywood. Jack, as Starlight Studio’s biggest box office draw, took center stage as his serial played for a packed audience. However, his attraction for Wyatt nearly derailed his cross-country tour to promote the serial.
Eight months later, after a traumatic tour, Jack returned to Hollywood, and with a phone call, began his courtship of Wyatt.
I love stories where the couple comes together when their world goes off the rails. Jack and Wyatt live that way as well. Conflict hits them in the form of the above-mentioned morals clauses, demands that Jack marry a woman, the change in attitude amongst moviegoers that Hollywood must clean up its act, the loss of people that mean a great deal to him. Jack and Wyatt negotiate the bumps in the road, together.
Wyatt is Jack’s anchor, his business partner, his advisor, his best friend. Who wouldn’t want a partner in life like that?
HH: What makes this work different than anything you’ve written so far?
BA: Everything I wrote prior to Tarnished Gold was set in England, usually during the Regency era. TG and the entire Tarnished series, pays homage to my love of the Golden Age of Hollywood. I have several volumes planned for the series, of which I have two published to this date. The second book, Tarnished Souls: Frankie and Gent, is about gangsters in Hollywood. They insinuated themselves in the running of the movie business, and some say they still are to some degree.
Over the next couple of years, I’ll write the series to completion. The next book is about Hollywood’s fixers, those men and women who cleaned up after actors, while they fiercely protected the studios. I also have the end of Frankie and Gent’s story, from Tarnished Souls.
The books take about six months to write and research, and I’m in no hurry.
HH: What else do you have in store for lucky readers?
BA: I am writing two Tarnished books simultaneously, one is the end of Frankie and Gent’s (from Tarnished Souls: Frankie and Gent) story and the other is Tarnished Souls: Mac and Gray. Mac, and to a lesser degree, Gray, appeared in Frankie and Gent. In the coming volume, we learn what happened to Mac after the end of Tarnished Souls: Frankie and Gent.
Mac becomes a “fixer” at one of the Hollywood studios. Fixers were those men who cleaned up after the bad behavior of actors—pulled them out of the wrong beds, covered up fights, drug lapses, and even deaths, or at least the reasons for the deaths.
In the days before the internet and camera phones, studios covered up scandals quite easily, and they paid men like Mac extremely well to facilitate those cover-ups.
I find that aspect of Hollywood interesting, given that today, scandals spread before they have barely begun.
I’m more than half done with the fixer book, and about halfway through Frankie and Gent’s finale. I’m rather sad at saying good-bye to my gangsters, but they deserve a more peaceful life than I’ve given them so far.
HH: What inspires you in your writing?
BA: I write because I have always wanted to write. From an early age, I read everything I could get my hands on. My mother used to tell me that if the house ever caught fire, she’d know to rescue me from the chair I sat in, with my favorite books.
I love good writing and have my own thoughts on what that is. I love the classics, but read a wide range of books. My first books were Nancy Drew, then I fell into years of reading biographies, as well as histories of countries. One of my favorite reading projects was reading books by or about every first lady of the United States. I’ve also read many bios of U.S. Presidents, none more inspiring than Abraham Lincoln.
My joy comes in the reading of a well-written book, one that is crafted with thought and caring, with phrasing that stays with you.
HH: What do you enjoy when you’re not writing?
BA: I am a huge movie buff (you see a Hollywood trend here?) so I watch a ton of movies, read a bushel of books each week, and I enjoy the great meals my husband cooks. LOL
HH: What are you reading?
BA: At the moment, I’m reading research books for the two books I’m writing simultaneously. Lots of Hollywood research involving “fixers,” and also much on Boston gangsters.
HH: What goals have you set for yourself this year?
BA: Last year, my first publisher, Noble Romance, closed up shop, to the relief of many authors. I got the rights to ten books back. Aside from writing the two books mentioned above, I want to rewrite most of the reverted books and get them submitted to another publisher. I’ve done that with four of them so far, with three already submitted. I’ll retire a couple of the titles, and work on the others as I can.
I am in no hurry to pump out six to ten books a year. I don’t think the quality is there if you focus strictly on quantity. I won’t rush the writing. That said, I anticipate no more than two new books per year.
HH: Where can readers find you online?