Count the Shells by Charlie Cochrane: Blog Tour, Exclusive Guest Post, and Giveaway

Michael Gray returned from World War One injured, but at least he returned. Others were not so fortunate, including his first and greatest love, Thomas Carter-Clemence, with whom Michael had parted bitterly before the conflict began.

Broch, the Carter-Clemence home in Porthkennack, was an integral part of pre-war holidays for the Grays, the two families drawn together in the wake of their sons’ friendship. Returning to the once-beloved Cornish coast for a break with his sister and her family, Michael has to find the courage to face old memories . . . and dare new relationships.

When Thomas’s brother Harry makes an unexpected appearance, Michael is surprised to find himself deeply attracted to Harry for his own sake. But as their relationship heats up, it unearths startling revelations and bitter truths. Michael must decide whether Harry is the answer to his prayers or the last straw to break an old soldier’s back.​

Amazon

Riptide Publishing

Kobo Books

 

Count the Shells is the story which completely astounded its author in the telling. I had no idea when I sat down to write it that the straightforward historical romance I’d envisaged would turn out to have a plot twist which transformed the story into possibly the best tale I’ve ever crafted.

 

The Great War – where do I start to research it?

If you were to say to me, “Charlie, old thing, I’m interested in finding out more about World War One. Where should I begin?” I’d respond, “Whatever you do, don’t start with a history text book!” Not unless you’re really interested in what battle took place where and which regiments were involved or which governments did what and when. That may be precisely your cup of tea, but I can’t say it’s mine. For me, the bigger picture is just the setting for the characters, and those details are only relevant when they impact on part of an individual’s life story. It’s the people who interest me: what they did, the experiences they lived through, and the effect these things had on them.

When it comes to finding those things out, there are a wealth of resources and some of the very best get as close to the source material as possible. All history is clearly seen at one or more removes, and as it reaches us it’ll have gone through one or more filters, as people relate the things they want us to hear and which support whichever view they’re taking. You have to remember this with whatever material you look at or listen to, but the fewer steps between you and the “eye witness”, the better.

So, here are some of my top resources:

  • War poetry. All of it from the jingoistic to the deeply cynical, and other poems written by notable poets of the era. (When we studied Wilfred Owen at school, nobody mentioned his homoerotic works, some of which are stunning and which put a new context on his more famous war poetry.)
  • The “Voices from…” series of books which uses testimonies from men and woman who lived/fought/sailed/flew in the era. The detais this provides is staggering.
  • Biographies, but not just of the big political or military names of the era. There are some great books about army chaplains, ordinary soldiers, even real war horses!
  • Diaries, letters, artwork from the era. One of the most moving books I’ve read is “Scrimgeour’s Scribbling Diary” which are the wartime writings (made strictly against protocol) of a midshipman. The abrupt end of entries is the most poignant reminder of the terrible loss of young lives.

 

About Porthkennack

Welcome to Porthkennack, a charming Cornish seaside town with a long and sometimes sinister history. Legend says King Arthur’s Black Knight built the fort on the headland here, and it’s a certainty that the town was founded on the proceeds of smuggling, piracy on the high seas, and the deliberate wrecking of cargo ships on the rocky shore. Nowadays it draws in the tourists with sunshine and surfing, but locals know that the ghosts of its Gothic past are never far below the surface.

This collaborative story world is brought to you by five award-winning, best-selling British LGBTQ romance authors: Alex Beecroft, Joanna Chambers, Charlie Cochrane, Garrett Leigh, and JL Merrow. Follow Porthkennack and its inhabitants through the centuries and through the full rainbow spectrum with historical and contemporary stand-alone titles.

Check out Porthkennack! http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/universe/porthkennack

 

As Charlie Cochrane couldn’t be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice—like managing a rugby team—she writes, with titles published by Carina, Samhain, Bold Strokes, MLR and Cheyenne.

Charlie’s Cambridge Fellows Series of Edwardian romantic mysteries was instrumental in her being named Author of the Year 2009 by the review site Speak Its Name. She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People, International Thriller Writers Inc and is on the organising team for UK Meet for readers/writers of GLBT fiction. She regularly appears with The Deadly Dames.

Connect with Charlie:

To celebrate the release of Count the Shells, one lucky winner will receive a goodie bag from Charlie Cochrane, including postcards (new and vintage), a recipe book, bookmark, pencils, a fridge magnet and various other doodahs! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 21, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

 

This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

EXCLUSIVE Cover Reveal: A Sniper’s Devotion by Christa Tomlinson, with Excerpt and Giveaway

**TCO is so excited to have one of my favorite people in the world…seriously, I love Christa Tomlinson so much, and having her stop by to do her cover reveal, show you the delicious Hector (and I have been privileged enough to read this book already, Hector is yummy!), is just so awesome! I hope you love it as much as I do! Be sure to let Christa know! And don’t forget the giveaway at the bottom…

 

Hello Two Chicks Readers! I’m so happy to present to you the final cover in the Cuffs, Collars and Love series. Of course I have to give a shout out to everyone on my Facebook page and Twitter timeline who helped me choose which model to put on the cover. I was torn between three beautiful men. Since I couldn’t decide, I figured, why not let the readers decide who they wanted to see?

I had a good laugh at some of the reasons given and drooling that went on for each of the model choices. Mostly because I was doing the same! I let the majority rule and this gorgeous man is your Hector Castillo. According to multiple comments, it was the lips that won the voters over. We may have dubbed him Mr. Smoochy. He fits in perfectly and it’s so nice to see him lined up with the rest of the CC&L boys.

You’ll get to read all about Mr. Smoochy – I mean errr… Hector and his friend Miguel in A Sniper’s Devotion in just a few weeks. I hope you’ll like the way the cover looks on your e-reader screen, and I especially hope you like the story. Be sure to drop me a line and let me know!

Love,

Christa

Officer Hector Castillo, a sniper on Houston’s elite SWAT team, is content living alone as a perpetual bachelor. But when he opens up his small apartment to a friend in need, their close quarters awaken long suppressed desires Hector can’t help but acknowledge.

Miguel Delgado’s unfortunate detour down a road he never intended to travel ends in a big wake up call, but he vows to get himself back on track. Though he’s always looked up to Hector, Miguel isn’t a kid with hero-worship anymore, and his schoolyard protector has matured into a strong and caring man – who happens to look damn sexy in his SWAT uniform.

Though their physical attraction to each other is undeniable, Hector and Miguel try hard to resist and protect their friendship. Until one night changes everything…

A Sniper’s Devotion is a loving and sexy, friends to lovers erotic romance. Hector and Miguel’s story is part of the Cuffs, Collars and Love series, but it is a stand-alone novel.

Release Date

November 7, 2017

Cover

Melody Simmons of Ebook Indie Covers. EBOOK INDIE COVERS

Price

$3.99

Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36392614-a-sniper-s-devotion

A Sniper’s Devotion Page on Author Website

http://www.christatomlinson.com/a-snipers-devotion.html

Tags

Friends to Lovers, Multicultural Romance, Hispanic Main Characters, Spanking, Stand Alone

Warnings

Mentions of Domestic Violence

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Apple iBooks

Kobo

 

 

“Aaaagh!” Miguel squeaked again, ducking his head into Hector’s shoulder as a mass of zombies burst into the shop where the hero and his family were hiding. “How are you not dying at this?” he asked in an agonized voice.

Hector held back a grin at Miguel’s over-the-top reaction. After the things he’d seen on the police force, it would take more than a jump scare to freak him out. “I’m trembling on the inside,” he said.

“You are not,” Miguel answered with a dry laugh. He started to pull away. “Sorry about that.”

Hector stopped him. “You’re just going to jump back on me anyway. Might as well stay here where I can protect you from the zombies.”

Miguel snorted another laugh, but after a moment’s hesitation, he settled back against him. He rested against Hector’s chest, with his bent legs laying half over one of Hector’s. As the movie played on, the hero and his crew making a perilous escape from the zombie horde, Hector brought his hand up from the back of the couch, absently running it through Miguel’s hair. The curls were soft, sliding through his fingers.

Eventually the action on screen slowed, giving both the hero and the viewers a moment to breathe. Hector’s attention wandered from the screen, and he realized it was strange to have his hand in another man’s hair. He and Miguel were so close, and it was such a habit from watching movies with dates that he’d done it without even thinking. He abruptly stopped. Sitting there stiffly, his hand frozen in Miguel’s hair, he wondered if he should apologize. Before he could decide, Miguel turned his head slightly, his lips brushing Hector’s neck as he spoke.

“That felt nice,” he said in a soft whisper. “Keep going.”

His chest suddenly tight, Hector relaxed his fingers and slowly started playing them through Miguel’s hair again. His eyes were on the TV, but he wasn’t really watching the movie. Neither was Miguel. His face stayed turned into Hector’s neck, warm breath softly blowing over his skin. It was a surprise and yet not when Miguel pressed a kiss to his throat.

At that moment, Hector should have moved away from Miguel. Hell, he should have gotten off the couch altogether. But he didn’t. He sat there, letting Miguel brush more kisses up and down the side of his neck. A hand landed on his thigh. Hector swallowed hard, then turned to look down at his friend.

Time for the cover reveal…

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Ready????

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Don’t forget to sign up for the giveaway below!!!

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Here you go!!!

Christa Tomlinson is an exciting up and coming author in erotic romance. Her first self-published novel, The Sergeant, was an Amazon Best Seller for Gay and Lesbian Erotica for seven weeks straight.

Christa graduated from The University of Missouri-St. Louis with a degree in History. She loves to create stories that are emotional and lovely with sex that is integral to the characters’ romantic arc. Her books include straight couples, curvy couples, gay, and multicultural couples. Love is love and everyone should have their story told.

Christa lives in Houston, Texas with her two dogs, and is a retired roller derby player.

Author Contact Info

Newsletter: http://www.christatomlinson.com/newsletter-sign-up.html

Website: www.ChristaTomlinson.com

Email: contactchrista@christatomlinson.com

Facebook: Christa Tomlinson, Author – https://www.facebook.com/ChristaTomlinsonAuthor/

Twitter: @ShockZ314 – https://twitter.com/ShockZ314

Amazon: Christa Tomlinson – https://www.amazon.com/Christa-Tomlinson/e/B00JEL9M82/

Goodreads: Christa Tomlinson – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4063407.Christa_Tomlinson

Prizes to be delivered on November 1st, a week before release day!!!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

Safe and Sound by Caitlin Ricci: Release Day Review with Giveaway

Twenty-one-year-old Mason has to get out of his mother’s house, where her boyfriend subjects him to unwanted advances—and won’t take no for an answer. Since she didn’t believe Mason when he told her about his uncle’s sexual abuse, Mason knows he’s on his own, and it’s up to him to raise the money he needs. He thinks he’s in luck when he takes a modeling job.

Oliver is a photographer, and getting guys and sex has always been easy for him. His current open relationship is no exception: more friendship and fun than anything. But when Oliver meets Mason, he can see the younger man is fragile and desperately in need of help. Before anything can develop between them, Mason needs to free himself of his terrible living situation and start on the road to healing. Oliver wants to stand beside him as he does. What surprises him is the discovery that he might need Mason as much as Mason needs him.

Title: Safe and Sound
Author: Caitlin Ricci
Release Date: October 18, 2017
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 84

Amazon

Dreamspinner Press

Kobo Books

 

Mason seemed so young to me. Not like 21, but more like 17-18. He was so innocent and the way his mom and her boyfriend treated him…made me think of him more as a kid, in the beginning. Working for his friend Eli at a horse sanctuary was his get away from the advances from the weird boyfriend of his mom, helped; though I suspect Eli is from another story, but I didn’t know this was a spin off, so I didn’t know much about him. My heart hurt for Mason though, there was a reason he was the way he was and it wasn’t just the mom’s boyfriend… he was just another one…

Oliver…I didn’t get the best first impression from him. He seemed kinda skeevy and I didn’t like the relationship he and his boyfriend had or what they wanted from Mason. It didn’t seem like the thing Mason would be into from the very beginning and I almost stopped reading. Not that I’m against ménage’s or poly relationships, I guess I just hoped for more for Mason. He seemed so unsure of himself and other people, and for good reason; but, I didn’t like the thought of anyone taking advantage of him or using him for something, because he wanted and deserved more than that. I liked the way Oliver was there for him and wanted to keep him safe, but when it came to Mason, but even breaking up with the boyfriend so he could try something with Mason, wasn’t Oliver’s idea. It was the boyfriends…I just thought Mason deserved more. Then, it just ended…

Not really a HEA, more like a HFN beginning.

3 pieces of eye candy for me.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

Leaning Into Touch by Lane Hayes: Blog Tour, Exclusive Guest Post, Excerpt and Giveaway

TitleLeaning Into Touch

Series: Leaning Into Stories, #4

Author: Lane Hayes

Publisher:  Lane Hayes

Release Date: October 5

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 80k words

Genre: Romance, Bisexual, Humor, Second Chance, Friends to Lovers, San Francisco, Office

Add to Goodreads

Josh Sheehan is unlucky in love and now… newly unemployed. He’s not sure what to do next, but he’s sure he should give up on romance. Especially after last time. His friends warned him that falling for the hunky Irishman was a bad idea. Josh can’t help feeling torn even though he knows it’s best to move on. But when an unexpected dose of family drama blindsides him, Josh finds himself leaning on the one man he’s supposed to forget.

Finn Gallagher is driven by success. He makes no secret that building a name for his tech company is his number one goal. Finn left home a decade ago with a ton of regret, a heavy heart, and a vow to never repeat the same mistake twice. However, there is something undeniably appealing about the self-deprecating man with the silly sense of humor that makes it difficult for Finn to remember why falling for Josh is a bad idea. It soon becomes clear they’re both in deeper than they intended. There is no way to remain untouched. And there is so much to gain, if they’re brave enough to lean in.

Leaning Into Touch is Book 4 in my Leaning Into Stories series. This one belongs to Josh and Finn. Josh is a fun-loving, laid-back regular kind of guy who adores his family and his tight-knit group of college buddies. He has a great sense of humor and an optimistic nature that comes in handy when everything begins to unravel in his world. And Finn is the handsome Irishman with a reputation for being ruthless and opportunistic. But Josh has a strong feeling there’s a lot more to Finn Gallagher than he shows.

Leaning Into Touch is about second chances, self-discovery and letting go. It’s also about family. Josh and Finn come from very different places and yet they share so many of the same ideals. I love the complexities of their relationship. They’re very real… or perfectly imperfect. *sigh

Thank you so much for having me here today. I’m going to leave you with a few interview questions for those who are a little curious about moi!

Happy Reading!

Lane Hayes xo

 

  1. If you could be a cartoon character for a week, who would you be?

Tough question. I’m going to go way back to my childhood when a good Saturday started with cartoons and a big bowl of cereal. LOL. The first one that comes to mind is Bugs Bunny. He always cracked me up.

  1. If you could have dinner with anyone from history, who would it be?

I just saw Hamilton in NYC so I’m going to say Alexander Hamilton.

  1. What’s your favorite childhood book?

I have so many! One book I still love and actually own two copies of is The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. That book is timeless.

  1. If you had to live in a different state, what would it be?

Easy… New York.

  1. What has been your favorite family vacation?

We took our family to Hawaii for a week a couple years ago and had an amazing time. It was the right amount of mellow to give us time to talk and connect and just be together.

  1. Who is the funniest person you know?

My husband. He’s fun and engaging and quick witted. Our daughter is a close second. And she definitely gets it from him. LOL.

 

Finn smiled and fell into step beside me. It seemed quieter on the street than it was earlier; there wasn’t as much foot traffic. Typical for midweek, I supposed. I breathed in the refreshing night air, loving the faint smell of the ocean. I shivered and crossed my arms. So much for enjoying a leisurely stroll. It was cold as fuck out here. I picked up my pace, but Finn pulled at my elbow to stop me.

“Are you daft? Where’s your coat?”

“I f-forgot it at the last bar. It’s okay. I’m cl-close.” I visibly shook when the wind whipped up the sidewalk, sending a scrap of newspaper flying by us like a paper airplane.

“Let’s go back and get it.”

“No, my friend will give it to me later. Or her friend will. I’m almost h-home so—what are you doing?”

“Put this on, then.”

Finn shrugged his suit coat off and set it over my shoulders like a cape or a cloak. He was two inches taller than me and far more muscular. It was like being wrapped in his warm, cologne-scented embrace. The gesture was so chivalrous, it left me speechless for a moment. I knew he was just being kind, but I couldn’t contain my smile.

“Thank you,” I said. “Are you sure you won’t be too cold?”

“Where I’m from, this is a summer breeze. You need it more than I do. Now tell me about your mates. I’m relieved to know you weren’t out drowning your sorrows on your own tonight.”

I snickered at his paternal tone. “I’m not above it, that’s for sure, but no…I was with my work crew for one last happy hour. Marley insisted. She was the redhead with the awesome curls I was with this morning at the museum.”

“I remember. She’s the one holding your jacket for ransom, eh?”

“Yeah. She’s on a mission to find the perfect man for me,” I huffed, making sure he saw my eye roll before we turned the corner to my street.

“Has she ruled out women? You’re bi, aren’t you?”

“Honestly, I don’t know what I am anymore. I had girlfriends in high school and even in college but after the first time I was with a man, I haven’t been interested in anything but dick.”

Finn laughed. “Good to know.”

“What about you?” I asked, leading him down a brick path and up a short flight of stairs.

I leaned against the bright red door as I fumbled for the house key in my front pocket. In my head, I was planning a cinematic-worthy good-bye. Something lighthearted but sincere before we parted for the last time. It would have been a helluva lot easier to concentrate if he wasn’t standing so close and looking at me like I was the last brownie on the buffet table. I cocked my head and waited for him to break the spell.

“I like it too,” he said in a husky voice I hadn’t heard in far too long.

I gulped and licked my bottom lip as he moved in, bending slightly to brush his nose against mine. He surrounded me in every possible way. The heat of his body and the warmth of his coat draped me in a seductive cocoon. I felt woozy with a rush of desire so intense, I would’ve swayed on my feet if he hadn’t been standing so close. I set my right hand on his hip to steady myself and leaned in…just as he pushed away.

Finn let out a ragged breath and swiped his hand over his stubbled chin. “Fuck. I forgot how bloody difficult it is to walk away from you.”

“Then don’t.”

Amazon

 


Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and were winners in the 2016 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a newly empty nest.

Books by Lane Hayes:

Better Than Good, Better Than Chance, Better Than Friends, Better Than Safe, The Right Words, The Wrong Man & The Right Time, A Kind Of Truth, A Kind of Romance, A Kind of Honesty, A Kind of Home, A Way with Words, Leaning Into Love, Leaning Into Always, Leaning Into the Fall, Leaning Into Touch

Coming Soon: Leaning Into the Look

 

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Email

 

Tour Schedule

10/9 MM Good Book Reviews

10/10 On Top Down Under Book Reviews

10/11 Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews

10/11 The Blogger Girls

10/12 Joyfully Jay

10/16 The Novel Approach

10/17 Two Chicks Obsessed

10/19 Love Bytes

10/23 Alpha Book Club

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Button 2

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

Reservations by Kindle Alexander: Cover Reveal, Excerpt and Giveaway

Title: Reservations
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: Coming Soon
 

Wildly successful entrepreneur, Thane Walker is stubbornly set in his ways. Adamantly resistant to the shackles of commitment, he’s seen enough unhappy endings to learn the best way to play is by keeping his men on the payroll.

Levi Silva’s dream of graduating from one of the country’s top medical schools is in his grasp, until news from home changes everything. Now, he’s raising his two teenage brothers and trying to keep everyone’s head above water, emotionally and financially.

When Levi’s new job puts him in Thane’s path, their chemistry explodes, but their fear of being involved in relationships keeps them apart. Unfortunately, despite the intense desire drawing them together, neither man can move forward until they get past their own…Reservations.



His mouth watered thinking about that vinegar coleslaw, and his stomach growled a little louder. Damn, he was starving. He should go out there and fix himself a plate, but he wouldn’t. That would only open a line of personal communication, and this restaurant had too much of that going on. Everyone but the customers were friends.
Instead of doing that, Thane buckled down and opened an email from Arik Layne. The email was to both him and Chef Ferico. The subject line read, “Whole Foods and HSN, Bitches!!!!” That instantly had Thane smiling. Arik had become a force in his life. The guy didn’t seem to understand the value of hesitancy. Arik was a mover and shaker. Their joint venture of infused olive oils had taken off like lightning. Arik had secured sales on thousands of bottles before manufacturing had started. Now that they had production underway, they were blowing and going like wildfire. All Arik had to do was pick up the phone, and he secured another sale.

Thane scanned the message, reading how Whole Foods planned to add them in a test market now, with mass distribution the beginning of October. That was all great news. Arik had also secured a spot on HSN in November, about two weeks before Thanksgiving. Somehow he’d managed to squeeze them into an already set schedule on foods for the holidays. They’d also be given time on the sales floor. The anticipated sales were around twenty-five thousand bottles.

Wow. Okay.

The last lines on the email made Thane squelch the urge to laugh out loud, not wanting to undermine the stern tone he’d taken with his staff, but, man, Arik was hilarious. He listed ten reasons why he’d be a better choice than Thane to go on the HSN broadcast with Chef Ferico. Every single bullet point ended with “because I really want to sample all the foods made that day.”
Literally, a man after his own heart.
Out of nothing more than the need to make Arik squirm, he decided to tease him. Thane quickly typed how glad he was for Arik’s effort, along with a note that they should at least flip a coin for the TV slot. He chose tails. Grinning, he pushed send as his cell phone began to vibrate in his pocket. With a glance at the screen, he saw Julian’s name and swiped to accept the call.
“Hey,” he said, putting the call on speaker before fishing his Bluetooth out of the computer bag and hooking it around his ear. 
“Hey, yourself. You still coming here?”
“I am. It’ll be a few weeks though. Everything okay?”

“Of course, you know I run a tight ship, but I might have to break protocol.”
Thane began shaking his head no as if Julian could see him.

“I can almost hear you shaking your head no.”

“That’s because that’s what I’m doing. Absolutely no rule breakage, Julian. You do it one time and that opens the door…”

“Hang tight, Papi Chulo. Don’t get all bent. I’m telling you before I do it. That should count.”

The happy place he’d found after reading Arik’s hilarious message was on the fast track to crashing and burning as Thane sat back in his chair and crossed his arms over his chest.

“Why?” he asked, instead of giving Julian the same dressing-down he’d just given this management team on the failures of flouting established protocol.

“Remember that kid I told you about months ago. My PT assistant, the one who got me into free counseling?”

Thane had to really think which was kind of funny. Julian’s care had been grossly expensive. He’d have thought he’d remember someone who’d saved him so much money in free counseling. He shrugged, lifting his brows, giving himself a break. He could vaguely recall the key components. “Maybe…”

“He needs a job.”
“We don’t hire our staff like that, Julian. Remember your training. Your guys…”

“Boss, slow your roll. He’s a med student taking care of his family, and he’s hot as hell. His body alone’ll make the customers very happy. Happy customers equal more money.”
“Is he in your previous line of work?” Thane asked, completely confused and trying to catch up.

“No. I want him for waitstaff at the club. I saw him last night, and he’s losing his job. He’s coming to the club tonight to take a look around. I’ll send his info off for a background check, but I’ll probably put him on the floor as early as tomorrow,” Julian stated matter-of-factly.

That was another huge issue he was having with Julian. The guy was a beast at work. He kept sticking his nose in every other manager’s responsibilities, causing all sorts of ill will. Julian was a man on a mission. He governed that club with an iron fist, all to try and repay Thane for the expensive care. “Have you talked with Dave about whether he needs more waitstaff?”

“Dave-the-douchebag quit today. You didn’t hear?” Julian said casually.
“What?” Thane pushed his fingers through his hair. Why was he just now hearing about this?

“Don’t worry. I got this. I’ll fill in until you figure out what to do. I, of course, think you just need to let me handle all personnel…”

“Stop, Julian. First, no one’s hired without passing a background check. I’m not watching anyone go through what you did again. And second, you better stop pissing off all my people. Until I talk to Dave and see if I can get him back, you can handle the waitstaff scheduling, but you aren’t…”
“Equipped to handle personnel issues,” Julian said, finishing his sentence. “Are you getting laid regularly? Because I’m pretty sure you’re not. You need to come on over here and bend me over this desk—”

“We have rules. I’m not having sex on that property, and I better not catch you having sex on that property!” Thane shot out, cutting Julian off.

“You’re a very difficult man, Thane Walker,” Julian replied, not missing a beat. “I’d say hard, but I have no way of truly knowing that.”

Best Selling Author Kindle Alexander is an innovative writer, and a genre-crosser who writes classic fantasy, romance, suspense, and erotica in both the male/male and male/female genres. It’s always a surprise to see what’s coming next!

I live in the suburbs of Dallas where it’s true, the only thing bigger than an over active imagination, may be women’s hair!

Usually, I try for funny. Humor is a major part of my life – I love to laugh, and it seems to be the thing I do in most situations – regardless of the situation, but jokes are a tricky deal… I don’t want to offend anyone and jokes tend to offend. So instead I’m going to tell you about Kindle.

I tragically lost my sixteen year old daughter to a drunk driver. She had just been at home, it was early in the night and I heard the accident happen. I’ll never forget that moment. The sirens were immediate and something inside me just knew. I left my house, drove straight to the accident on nothing more than instinct. I got to be there when my little girl died – weirdly, I consider that a true gift from above. She didn’t have to be alone.

That time in my life was terrible. It’s everything you think it would be times about a billion. I love that kid. I loved being her mother and I loved watching her grow into this incredibly beautiful person, both inside and out. She was such a gift to me. To have it all ripped away so suddenly broke me.

Her name was Kindle. Honest to goodness – it was her name and she died a few weeks before Amazon released their brand new Kindle ereader. She had no idea it was coming out and she would have finally gotten her name on something! Try finding a ruler with the name Kindle on it.. It never happened.

Through the course of that crippling event I was lucky enough to begin to write with a dear friend in the fan fiction world of Facebook. She got me through those dark days with her unwavering support and friendship. There wasn’t a time she wasn’t there for me. Sometimes together and sometimes by myself, we built a world where Kindle lives and stands for peace, love and harmony. It’s its own kind of support group. I know without question I wouldn’t be here today without her.

Find out more by visiting www.kindlealexander.com or email me at kindle@kindlealexander.com

 


HOSTED BY:

This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

The Fireman’s Pole by Sue Brown: Release Day Review with Giveaway

The flames of passion rise for the lord of the manor.

It’s springtime in Calminster village, but things are already heating up. Sexy firefighter Dale Maloney is new to the local station. When Dale backs the company fire engine into the village maypole, he attracts the ire—and attention—of Benedict Raleigh, the Baron Calminster.

Soon after meeting Dale, Ben breaks off his relationship with his girlfriend, and the sparks between Ben and Dale are quickly fanned into flames.

Unfortunately the passion between the two men isn’t the only blaze in the village. An arsonist’s crimes are escalating, and it’s up to Dale and his crew to stop them. Meanwhile, as they investigate, an unscrupulous business partner attempts to coerce Ben into marrying his daughter. The May Day parade is around the corner, but they have plenty of fires to put out before Ben can finally slide down the fireman’s pole.

Title: The Fireman’s Pole
Author: Sue Brown
Release Date: October 15, 2017
Category: Contemporary, Dreamspun Desires
Pages: 220

Amazon

Dreamspinner Press

Kobo Books

I just love the Dreamspun Desires series. Every time I read one, I go away happy. Sue Brown‘s The Fireman’s Pole is no exception, in fact this is one I will definitely read again.

So much dichotomy going on with Ben and Dale, and it made for a fun book to read.

With Ben, it was interesting how people liked him, yet he really had no clue. He often left events early, or tried to stay away, not realizing that people actually appreciated him as a person, and not just as “lord of the manor”.

Meanwhile, Dale, when he meets Ben, has some issues with trying to not look like an incompetent. Once he establishes himself though, and begins a relationship with Ben, his dominant side comes out, and Ben is putting in his hands. He didn’t care that Ben was a baron. He cared that he wanted Ben, and Ben wanted him right back.

There was some mystery added in, for extra spice, but not anything that was too tough to figure out. I loved some of the funny parts (the May Pole incident was so funny, and poor Dale never seemed to live it down). And a few parts that tore your heartstrings up a bit. All in all, just and enjoyable read.

4 pieces of eye candy


a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

His Convenient Husband by Robin Covington: Blog Tour, Exclusive Guest Post, Excerpt, Review and Giveaway

TitleHis Convenient Husband

Series: Love and Sports, Book One

Author: Robin Covington

Publisher:  Entangled Publishing

Release Date: October 9, 2017

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 50,000

Genre: Romance, marriage of convenience, interracial romance, sports romance, LGBTQ

Add to Goodreads

NFL football player Isaiah Blackwell lost his husband three years ago and is raising their teen son alone. He lives his life as quietly as his job allows, playing ball to support his family but trying not to draw unwanted attention. His quiet life is shaken up when a mutual friend introduces him to Victor, a visiting principal ballet dancer who is everything Isaiah is not.

Brash and loud, Victor Aleksandrov has applied for political asylum to avoid returning to Russia, where gay men are targeted and persecuted. He’s been outspoken about gay rights in his home country, and if he doesn’t get asylum, going back to Russia is a death sentence.

Their one-night stand turns into a tentative friendship, a relationship they both agree is temporary…until Victor’s denied asylum. Isaiah can’t offer Victor a happily ever after, but he can propose something that’ll keep Victor in the US and safe. . .marriage He just doesn’t expect his new husband to dance away with his heart.

I love it when a plan works out . . .

Hey y’all!  I’m so excited to be here to talk about my latest romance, HIS CONVENIENT HUSBAND.  I love writing  and I’ve done it since I was a kid and with every book, it gets easier and it gets harder. I also have discovered that some things I always like and some . . . well, they aren’t my favorites.

I find that I never like slowing down at the beginning and spending the necessary time to do the pre-work and plotting correctly. I get an idea and I just want to jump in and start writing but I know from experience that it never ends well if I skip my plotting.

But I LOVE casting the characters in the book once I’ve figured out who they are. I mean who wouldn’t love scoping out Pinterest for the perfect hot dude to be my latest hero. That part of the job does not suck. And I love building the inspiration board and gathering the photos and ideas that fill in all the gaps in the story. You can take a look at the board for HIS CONVENIENT HUSBAND  to see who I dreamcast as Victor and Isaiah (anyone else love Morris Chesnut?): https://www.pinterest.com/robincovington1/his-convenient-husband-love-and-sports-1/

And – I’ve paired up with an amazing artist, Shirin, to have desktop wallpaper made for my readers to enjoy. Check it out and if you love it, you can download it here: http://robincovingtonromance.com/books/love-sports-series/his-convenient-husband/

Do you dreamcast the heroes when you read? Share pics of your faves.

Thanks for reading! If you love my guys as much as I do, drop me a line at robin@robincovingtonromance.com

xoRobin

Victor didn’t even think. If he had thought about it, he would have talked himself out of it, but his body took over, and before he knew it he’d pulled Isaiah into his arms. Nothing sexual, nothing calculated, just an embrace for a man who’d lost something precious and who’d carried the weight of his grief, and the grief of his son, on his shoulders.

Isaiah didn’t fight him, just melted against him, his large arms wrapping around Victor’s body as he allowed the moment to spool out naturally. Victor slowly released the breath he was holding, afraid that any sudden movement would spook Isaiah back into his previous arm’s length regimentation.

The house was quiet, soft music drifting out from the docking station, Evan’s muffled footfalls overhead as he undoubtedly chattered away with his best friend. He curbed his desire to make this more than it was, ignoring the voice in his head that whispered that this was what he always thought having a family would be like. A warm, safe home, children, and a man who loved him, and building a life together.

This wasn’t it, but it was as close to perfect as he was likely to get, so he’d take it. For as long as he could have it. They’d never discussed an end, but the natural end date was when he gained his citizenship. So, three years. Not long, but he’d take it, because Isaiah was quickly getting to him, taking up residence in the part of his heart he’d never thought would be filled.

Pathetic? He didn’t care. Victor was a romantic, something he had in common with Stephen. And look how Stephen had fallen. Victor didn’t have a chance.

The music switched, shifting down into a slower rhythm, not a Latin beat by any measure, but sultry. They began to move together. Victor didn’t make a conscious decision to dance, but it was the language that came most easily to him, and he responded to the natural sway of the embrace.

Isaiah followed his lead, the shuffle of their feet falling easily into a modified variation of the bachata. Limbs pressed against each other, muscles flexing as they moved slowly, finding their own pace. Victor sucked in a breath when Isaiah’s hands ran across the bare skin of his back, callouses dragging and igniting sparks of arousal in their wake. He made a sound, low but audible, and somewhere between a gasp and a moan, prompting his husband to pull back, eyes locked on his own.

Victor was relieved when he didn’t end the exquisite torture, but instead continued to maintain eye contact as they swayed together in the honey-glazed light of the kitchen. He was hard, sure that Isaiah could feel it through the thin material of his sweatpants, because he felt Isaiah’s erection through his dress pants. They shifted against each other, cocks aligning in a way that made the most of the lazy friction, sending ripples of pleasure over his skin and up his spine.

And then Isaiah pulled him closer, and Victor buried his face in the sweet dip of his shoulder, inhaling the scent of laundry detergent, cologne, and the intoxicating smell of his man. Isaiah’s hands dipped lower on his back, fingertips skimming the waistband, the occasional slip below the edge ratcheting his heartbeat up to the point where he knew it could be felt by the man holding him.

“So beautiful.” The words coasted across Victor’s skin, barely above a whisper. “Such a temptation.”

“I’m here for the taking,” Victor replied, his fingers coasting over the nape of Isaiah’s neck just to satisfy the urge to feel skin.

The moment was cloaked in madness, which was the only explanation for his mistake, and he knew it was the last thing he should have said when Isaiah went still, his fingers unconsciously digging into Victor’s hips.

They both pulled back, slowly, stubbled cheek against stubbled cheek, until their mouths were touching. Victor licked against his husband’s soft lips, begging for entrance and diving in when he was granted admission. Spice and sweet lemon and heat were everything in this kiss, more exploration than demand as they held on to each other and gave in.

The remains of dinner were around them, but this was another kind of hunger, and he’d waited too long to have it satisfied. Victor knew how good they could be together, and while he knew they would walk the razor’s edge between emotion and pure physical indulgence, he was willing to risk it. If he fell, then he’d embrace it.

But he knew he’d be falling alone.

“Fake” marriage, or marriage of convenience is not a trope you see often in the MM romance world. But you should. After marriage was finally declared legal by the Supreme Court, it opened up a whole new world! So this was my first book with the trope and I hope it won’t be my last.

Isaiah is a widower with a teenage son. He is also an NFL player in his off season. His incredibly artistic son gets to meet a world renowned ballet star from Russia. Sparks fly but neither can or want to commit. So after one night, they move on. Until Victor is denied political aslyum for his outspoken views on how gay men are treated in Chechnya. On a whim, Isaiah proposes, but says they have to stay platonic so that he doesn’t risk getting hurt again.

We all know how that goes. So, yes, it was predictable there. But the story and leading up to the HEA were still a good read.

Even though both Isaiah and Victor have high profile, demanding careers, the focus is on them as a couple and on Isaiah’s son. While this could have been a much longer book by adding more story to their careers, I liked that they didn’t. That way more of the story could focus on them and be character driven.

I expected more angst, and it would have been welcome. I didn’t really feel Isaiah’s pain at being a widower, but that is just me. I expected backlash from his son Evan about the relationship, but he was totally welcoming. And while Victor was outspoken, again I thought there would be more immediate repercussions.

So while there was a lot of “could have beens” in the story, I still really enjoyed it. The subject could have been dark but the author kept it light. Seeing Isaiah and Victor live together while dancing around their feelings was fun. And I really loved Evan- Isaiah’s gender fluid son.

There was tons of representation- which is a very cool thing. Victor is described as gender fluid, but I didn’t see that. Wearing a bit of make up doesn’t gender fluid make.

Ultimately, this was a nice story to read. I probably won’t remember it in a few weeks, but I don’t regret reading it.

3 pieces of eye candy

Entangled Publishing | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

 

A USAToday bestseller, Robin Covington loves to explore the theme of fooling around and falling in love in her books. Her stories burn up the sheets. . .one page at a time. When she’s not writing she’s collecting tasty man candy, indulging in a little comic book geek love, hoarding red nail polish and stalking Chris Evans.

A 2016 RITA® Award finalist, Robin’s books have won the National Reader’s Choice and Golden Leaf Awards and finaled in the Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice, and the Book Seller’s Best.

She lives in Maryland with her handsome husband, her two brilliant children (they get it from her, of course!), and her beloved furbabies, Dutch and Dixie Joan Wilder (Yes – THE Joan Wilder)

Drop her a line at robin@robincovingtonromance.com – she always writes back.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | eMail | Instagram

 

Tour Schedule

 

10/10 The Novel Approach

10/10 Writing Bookish Notes

10/11 Joyfully Jay

10/11 Divine Magazine

10/12 Love Bytes

10/12 Abbeys 1-Click Book Blog

10/13 Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews

10/13 Bayou Book Junkie

10/14 Two Chicks Obsessed

10/14 Boy Meets Boy Reviews

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Button 2

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

Taming the Beast by Andrew Grey: New Release Review with Giveaway

The suspicious death of Dante Bartholomew’s wife changed him, especially in the eyes of the residents of St. Giles. They no longer see a successful businessman… only a monster they believe was involved. Dante’s horrific reputation eclipses the truth to the point that he sees no choice but to isolate himself and his heart.
The plan backfires when he meets counselor Beau Clarity and the children he works with. Beau and the kids see beyond the beastly reputation to the beautiful soul inside Dante, and Dante’s cold heart begins to thaw as they slip past his defenses. The warmth and hope Beau brings to Dante’s life help him see his entire existence—his trials and sorrows—in a brighter light.
But Dante’s secrets could rip happiness from their grasp… especially since someone isn’t above hurting those Dante has grown to love in order to bring him down.

Title: Taming the Beast
Author: Andrew Grey
Release Date: October 13, 2017
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 200

Amazon

Dreamspinner Press

Kobo Books

Andrew Grey writes so prolifically that I think he must write a book a week. And where he gets his plot bunnies is only known to him. However, this book seems to have come from the Beauty and the Beast storyline, with a much more modern (and of course m/m) feel.

Dante’s past still haunted him even after meeting and falling for Beau. The guilt he carried for the death of his wife was so self inflicted that the town picked up on it, treating him as he felt he should be treated, as a killer. Moving past it would take more than the love of a single man, but forgiveness of himself.

I really liked that though Beau was the “Beauty” in this mix, he wasn’t a man to just sit there and do as his Beast told him. He was determined to make the situation work, as well as wanting to see beyond the distant exterior of Dante. He accepted that Dante could do things in the town he couldn’t but wanted to make sure that he didn’t take advantage of that.

They fell in love quickly but it did feel organic simply because Beau wouldn’t let Dante keep pushing him back. They worked together to figure out how to deal with the crises that came to them, yet didn’t try to solve the problem for the other (well okay Dante wanted to but he respected Beau’s wish to not have him solve it)

The epilogue worked well to complete their story, and gave the reader a glimpse into the full transition of Dante back into the world he had cut himself off from. I would have liked a little more informations on how his deceased wife’s parents handled everything but that wasn’t critical to the story. These two men with such distinct tragedies in their lives found a love and life together, bringing their HEA full circle. Definitely a book I enjoyed.

3.5 pieces of eye candy


a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

Finding Home by Garrett Leigh: Blog Tour, Exclusive Interview, and Giveaway

How do you find a home when your heart is in ashes?

With their mum dead and their father on remand for her murder, Leo Hendry and his little sister, Lila, have nothing in the world but each other. Broken and burned, they’re thrust into the foster care system. Leo shields Lila from the fake families and forced affection, until the Poulton household is the only place left to go.

Charlie de Sousa is used to other kids passing through the Poulton home, but there’s never been anyone like his new foster brother. Leo’s physical injuries are plain to see, but it’s the pain in his eyes that draws Charlie in the most.

Day by day, they grow closer, but the darkness inside Leo consumes him. He rejects his foster parents, and when Charlie gets into trouble, Leo’s attempt to protect him turns violent. When Leo loses control, no one can reach him—except Charlie. He desperately needs a family—a home—and only Charlie can show him the way.

Amazon

Riptide Publishing

  1. Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?

I tend to hum as I type if I’m really into it. Not musically, but more like a deranged robot. I didn’t know this about myself until I worked in an office and found everyone staring at me.

  1. Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

Probably sport. I know nothing about any of it, apart from perhaps track and field, but even then it’s still limited to a weird crush on Kris Akabusi.

  1. Which would you rather do: ‘Never write another story or never read another book?

I don’t think you can have one without the other. I didn’t have time to read a few years ago when I had a great deal of upheaval in my personal life, and I definitely found writing harder. Even if I’m reading a book that’s totally out of my genre, there’s always something that flicks the author switch in my brain. Writers are readers. It’s how we learn and grow.

  1. Are you a plotter or a pantster?

Both. I rarely write my plots down, and often change my mind halfway through the manuscript, but I still insist on constant brooding over whatever I’m working on.

  1. Always the fun question: What is the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?

I couldn’t possibly comment.

Garrett Leigh is an award-winning British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, Riptide Publishing, and Fox Love Press.

Garrett’s debut novel, Slide, won Best Bisexual Debut at the 2014 Rainbow Book Awards, and her polyamorous novel, Misfits was a finalist in the 2016 LAMBDA awards.

When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible, all the while shouting at her menagerie of children and animals and attempting to tame her unruly and wonderful FOX.

Garrett is also an award winning cover artist, taking the silver medal at the Benjamin Franklin Book Awards in 2016. She designs for various publishing houses and independent authors at blackjazzdesign.com, and co-owns the specialist stock site moonstockphotography.com with renowned LGBTQA+ photographer Dan Burgess.

Social media:

Website: http://garrettleigh.com

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/Garrett_Leigh

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/garrettleighbooks

Cover art enquiries: blackjazzdesign@gmail.com

To celebrate the release of Finding Home, one lucky winner will receive a $20 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 14, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

Love By Number by DJ Jamison: Release Blitz, Excerpt and Giveaway

TitleLove By Number

Author: DJ Jamison

Publisher: DJ Jamison

Release Date: October 12, 2017

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 31,000 words

Genre: Romance, LGBT, m/m contemporary romance

Add to Goodreads

 

Aidan doesn’t have the best record with relationships, but he’s had a lifelong love affair with baseball. Player stats and computer simulations make sense. People don’t. But when he needs a ride to the World Series, he must rely on another person: a sexy artist who is as spontaneous as Aidan is predictable.

Jesse doesn’t care about baseball. As an artist, he’d rather paint a player than watch him at bat. But his grandpa loves the Kansas City Royals, so he takes him to every home game. He has no idea a fender bender in the parking lot is about to deliver new inspiration in the shape of a man with a whole bag of quirks.

Despite their differences, Jesse and Aidan hit it off, and their sexual chemistry is fantastic. But when Aidan’s numbers betray him, Jesse isn’t prepared for the fall-out. If Aidan continues to put his passion for baseball stats above everything else, he could miss out on the most important numbers in life: the number of smiles, kisses and laughs they could share in a lifelong journey together.

Aidan clutched at his hair, heart hammering in his chest. The front driver’s side of his black Saab was crumpled. The wheel well took a direct hit, the force of the collision pressing it into the tire. He could tell from just looking that the axle must be bent, if not broken, by the way the tire tilted at the wrong angle.

It’s not drivable, he thought, and his heart hammered harder. He felt his hands trembling, and not as an aftershock of the accident. Well, not from experiencing the accident, at least. He was shaking because his plans had just been thrown in the blender.

“Hey, you okay?”

He looked up, gazing blankly at the figure approaching him. A man, but his features were lost in the shadows. Not that Aidan could focus on something like facial features right now. That wasn’t easy on a good day, much less in a moment like this.

“It’s not that big a deal,” he muttered to himself, as he’d learned from his therapist years ago. “It’s not. It’s not. But …” He groaned and clutched at his hair some more. “How am I going to get to the World Series now? I have to get there!”

He’d wrapped up so many hopes in getting to that series, in watching the Royals perform in high-stakes games. It was the perfect time to prove out his math. It might not be rocket science, but Aidan still wanted to watch his math come to life on the baseball field, in the most important series of the season. In person.

A hand touched his shoulder, and he flinched away.

“I’m sorry. Are you hurt?” a voice asked. A nice, mellow voice. He liked the raspy quality of it and the cadence of the man’s words. His tone calmed Aidan.

He managed to drag his gaze from the damage to the man’s face. “I’m …”

Sexy Artist Guy.

He faltered when he recognized the dark hair tinted with maroon highlights, dark eyes and sculpted lips — all coming together in a perfect symmetry. A perfect representation of geometry in nature, really. And the freckles splashed over his nose, highlighted now by the security lights overhead? They somehow added to his sex appeal instead of detracting from it.

Aidan had seen an open sketchbook on this man’s lap more than once when passing by on a bathroom break. He mostly drew portraits, from the look of it, but Aidan had only caught a glimpse. It made sense he was an artist since his entire appearance was like a work of art to Aidan’s eyes. He couldn’t imagine being so creative with his hair or his wardrobe or his skin, where Sexy Artist Guy had embraced both tattooing (his right bicep) and piercing (both ears and right eyebrow).

“I’m so sorry,” Sexy Artist Guy said again. “I saw an opening and went for it. I didn’t see you coming, but my grandfather was distracting me—”

“Blame it on the old man, why don’t ya?” a hoarse voice boomed loudly enough to make Aidan jump.

“Gramps, not now, huh? The guy is freaking out.”

“I’m not freaking out,” Aidan said sharply. The fascination with the stranger’s face faded as he remembered why he was in this situation. He gestured to the damage. “There’s no way I can drive that.”

“We can give you a lift,” the old man said, at the same time the handsome stranger said, “We’ll call you a tow truck.”

“But look at my car!” he said, not sure they understood the direness of the situation.

Artist Guy frowned, then glanced behind Aidan. Following his look, he realized they were blocking traffic. A line of cars snaked through the parking lot, headlights shining on Aidan’s personal disaster.

“I should move my car.” He glanced back at the bent wheel well, frowning. He hoped he could move the car.

“Jesse,” the old man spoke, “you help him push. I’ll get in and put it in neutral.”

They all took their positions, and with some work managed to push the car into an empty space next to the Lincoln Towncar that had so cruelly crunched the Saab. Aidan cringed at the scraping metal sound as his car rolled out of the lane of traffic.

Once off to the side, Jesse pulled out his wallet. He handed his license to Aidan, who stared at it. He took in all the details: 6-foot-1, 175 pounds, brown hair, brown eyes, born one year after Aidan, making him twenty-six.

Jesse cleared his throat, and Aidan glanced up.

“Aren’t you going to take a picture?”

Damn. He’d been staring. The old saying popped into his mind: Take a picture, it’ll last longer.

He flushed. “Sorry.”

He started to hand the license back, but Jesse looked at him as if he had a screw loose. Then it clicked. Take a picture. For insurance. Right.

He dug out his phone and clicked the pic of the license, and then of the insurance card that Jesse handed over. He was still rattled by the accident, thrumming with bottled-up anxiety.

“You okay? You’re pretty twitchy,” Jesse said. “I’m sure the insurance will cover the damage.”

“Yeah, but it’s my car.”

“Yeah?”

Aidan waved to his car, unsure how to make Jesse understand.

“It was reliable.”

“Um, won’t it still be reliable when it’s fixed?”

“The World Series is in two days.”

“So …”

“Jesse, stop being thick,” the old man interrupted. “Obviously, he was going to drive up to St. Louis, and a Saab is a foreign car. He won’t be able to get the parts locally. Maybe not even the mechanic. They don’t make those cars anymore. He can’t get it fixed in time.”

“Oh.”

“I have to go to that game. I go to all the away games within driving distance. I always do. And this is the World Series. I’m going to have to take a bus, and, oh God, I can’t stand to ride the bus—”

“Jesse will drive you.”

Aidan looked at the older man. He had a bushy head of white hair and enough wrinkles to give a Shar-Pei a run for its money, but his tone was confident, the kind of confident that brooked no nonsense. He’d heard that tone from his own mother too many times to count.

“He will?”

“I will?” Jesse echoed. “Gramps, I’m sure Aidan doesn’t want—”

“That would be great!”

Normally, Aidan wouldn’t want to ride long distance with a stranger, but when contrasted with a bus full of strangers, he jumped at the opportunity. Besides, Jesse and his grandfatherhad been at every home game. If Jesse were some kind of predator or bully, he’d have shown it by now. Right?

He’d only had one other interaction with Jesse. He’d walked up to Aidan once, when he was trying to quickly record the stats from the latest play and compare them against what he’d predicted for that player’s performance. Aidan had been too distracted to make conversation, especially small talk with a stranger. But he couldn’t help noticing his great smile. Jesse was one of those people who smiled with his whole being, not just his mouth. His eyes brightened, his cheeks dimpled and his body even seemed to vibrate with happy energy.

Aidan liked that because it was easy to see Jesse’s happiness. It wasn’t subtle, which would be lost on him, or confusing — like when people’s mouths smiled but their eyes stayed cold. He didn’t understand that. Was he supposed to respond to their mouth or their eyes? And then there were some people who just smiled all the time, even when they said mean things. What did that mean? Smiles could be confusing, but Jesse’s wasn’t.

“I have tickets to the games,” Gramps was saying now. “I was going to ask you to go, as a favor to me.”

“What? But you said in the car—”

“Hush,” Gramps said, a gleam in his eye. “I’m not up for that kind of travel. I want you to go in my place, so you can tell me all about it. You take this nice young man. It’s the least we can do. Watch the games for me, and tell me all about it when you come home.”

Aidan pulled out his phone to call the tow truck, watching the two men in a staring stand-off. He made arrangements for the tow and disconnected in time to see Jesse sigh and nod.

“Okay, Gramps. For you.”

“Good boy,” Gramps said, clapping him on the shoulder.


Amazon

 

DJ Jamison grew up in the Midwest and worked in newsrooms for more than 10 years, which came in handy when she began writing stories centered on a series of love connections between small-town Kansas newspaper staffers, their sources and their readers. It was the perfect entrance into the world of fiction, and she has since branched out into ERs, health clinics and other settings to tell the stories of characters who are flawed but loveable. She writes a variety of queer characters, from gay to bisexual to asexual, with a focus on telling love stories that are more about common ground than lust at first sight. DJ is married with two sons and two glow-in-the-dark fish that are miraculously still alive.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | DJ and Company | DJ’s Newsletter

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Button 2

Save

Save

Save

This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.