Mechanic Jordan Hart is down on his luck, so he gladly accepts a temporary job servicing tractors at a hazelnut farm in Newberg, Oregon. He doesn’t expect to be attracted to his boss, Beckett Shaw. Still working on embracing his bisexuality, he’s reluctant to start anything, but Beckett’s gentle coaxing convinces Jordan to take a risk.
Beckett has vowed not to get involved with anyone until he can restore the Shaw Farms name as a leader in hazelnuts. But there’s no denying his interest in the shy mechanic who shows up at his door. Just as they begin to find a balance, outside forces threaten to tear them apart. Job opportunities force Jordan out of the Portland area he loves so much. But when danger comes too close to Beckett, Jordan must decide if he can follow his heart to the Willamette Valley… and straight back to Beckett.
States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.
Hi there! I’m Kris T. Bethke, and first let me say a great big thank you to the gang here for allowing me some time.
Being a part of the States of Love collection is an honor for me, and it was something I wanted since the sub call went out. I loved the idea, and I’m so excited to be a part of it.
That said, this was a challenging book to write. Looking back on it now, it was a great experience, and I learned a lot about myself as a writer. At the time, though, it was sort of frustrating. And the first hurdle I had to overcome was which character would tell the story.
If you’ve read any of my backlist, you might have noticed that I’ve always written in first person, past tense. I write that way because it’s my favorite tense to read. There’s an immediacy to being in one of the character’s heads that really works for me. And up until this book, I found it the easiest way to tell my stories.
But Beck and Jordan had other ideas.
For a long time, I flip flopped back and forth between which guy would get the narrator role. Both had merit. Both Beckett and Jordan have a high stake in the story, and either one of them would have been a good driving force. But I was struggling with finding that perfect balance, and the right scenes to show. No matter which MC I used, it felt like something was missing.
I briefly flirted with the idea of alternating first, but that’s a whole other set of challenges, and even though I gave it a try, it still wasn’t right. So I took a deep breath, threw caution to the wind, and started writing third person.
It’s not like I never used alternating third before, but I hadn’t used it in a full length story. I had a deadline I couldn’t go back on, and I was getting anxious, so I knew I had to try something. And lo and behold, it actually worked. Where before I was having issues, now the story flowed.
There’s something special about getting both MCs’ POVs. It gives the reader a more complete picture, for sure. But it also gives the story a different feel. I didn’t know, when I started out, that this was what Beck and Jordan needed. But when I was finished, I knew I had the right story on the page.
(And it was good practice for the next three books I wrote, which had to be in alternating third, but that’s a different story altogether.)
In the end, I have a book I’m proud of. I hope you’ll enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it. Hearts and Hazelnuts is available now from Dreamspinner Press.
“We sell at a booth at the Newberg fair. Would you be interested in helping me out there?”
Okay, that wasn’t exactly what he planned to say. In fact he’d been ready to calculate the hours Jordan had worked and cut him a check. But when it came down to it, Beckett just couldn’t say the words. He wanted to see more of Jordan.
“Umm. I guess?”
Jordan looked totally confused. With good reason, Beck supposed. It was an odd request, and Beck couldn’t explain the reason behind it. He wasn’t going to start anything with Jordan. His focus had to be on the farm and nothing else. It just seemed too soon to say goodbye, so he thought fast.
“I need Cory to stay here and supervise the tail end of the harvest. And it’s easier to work the booth if I have someone helping me out.” It was all technically true, if not entirely accurate. Beck could work the booth by himself if he had to.
“Okay. I can help.” Jordan still looked at him oddly.
“I’ll pay you your regular rate.”
Jordan shook his head before Beck even finished talking. “No. That’s too much. Whatever you pay the guys.”
Beckett’s heart melted a little because Jordan was clearly an honest man. Which Beck already knew that, but he was glad to see it confirmed. “Okay. If that’s what you want. You’re helping me out, and I appreciate it.”
“I don’t mind. I’m happy to help.” Jordan’s gaze dropped to his hands. Beckett’s did too, and he watched as Jordan rubbed his palms over his jeans. He had good hands, strong and veined, and Beckett would have liked to know what they felt like on his skin.
“Thanks,” Beckett said softly. He really had to get himself under control. After Saturday he’d have to put Jordan out of his mind. It was the best thing for everybody.
“What time do you want me here?”
Beck squinted as he thought. “Fair opens at eight. We have to be there by seven thirty to set up. So, umm, be here by seven?” Though it was only a few miles up the road, it would take a bit of time to get everything in the truck.
Jordan nodded and stood. Then he took a deliberate step to the side so he was farther from Beckett. Barely keeping in a sigh, Beck stood too and leaned back against his desk to give Jordan even more space. He knew he was being weird, but he couldn’t seem to help it.
“Okay. See you then.” Jordan barely waited for confirmation before he left. Beck stared after him.
Lookit that cute cover….. Why wouldn’t you stop and read a book with such a cute cover? I’ll be honest, it was the biggest reason I wanted to read it… Its okay, you can call me a judger.. it paid off in this instance!
In this incredibly sweet, albeit short story, we have Beckett and Jordan.
Jordan was out of work, something about his old boss embezzling from the company he worked for as a mechanic, or something like that. Unfortunately, as we all know, jobs are hard to come by and the cost of living is expensive, so Jordan moves in with his brother while trying to find a different job and get back on his feet. That’s where he meets Beckett.
Beckett needs help with one of his tractors, it’s harvesting time and he needs a mechanic and calls Jordan’s brother, who refers Jordan for the job.
These two have chemistry right away but it’s a little slow going at first. Jordan is hesitant, he needs the job and once he gets a regular job, this temporary arrangement at Becketts farm will be forgotten. Its not that easy though, as these guys go from a nice, working friendship to a sexual relationship and even though Jordan wants to be hesitant, it’s not that easy with easy going and charming Beckett. I loved these two together, they were sweet.
Unfortunately, Beckett also had some trouble with a neighboring farm that wanted his land. I dunno why the dude didn’t approach Beckett’s dad when he had the farm, youd think with the way the man was money hungry and wanted to retire, he’d been the first one to sell. I mean, I’m glad he didn’t, but the guy was just random, foul mouthed and tried to be scary, but he came off as dumb and not so threatening, even though he tried really hard to be. It just wasn’t’ convincing. Which is probably why Beckett didn’’t hold anything he said with a grain of salt. He was more a nuisance than anything.
Which is why when Jordan accepted a job hours away and their relationship took a hit, Beckett didn’t call Jordan when the old man made good on his not so idle threats. Jordan comes running, and again… more sweetness. I just loved all of this story and wish it was longer!
I also wouldn’t mind reading more about Cory, especially now that he’s away from the cheating boyfriend. I bet that’d be a good story!
Final thought? I loved it!
5 pieces of eye candy from me.
Kris T. Bethke has been a voracious reader for pretty much her entire life and has been writing stories for nearly as long. An avid and prolific daydreamer, she always has a story in her head. She spends most of her free time reading, writing, or knitting/crocheting her latest project. Her biggest desire is to find a way to accomplish all three tasks at one time. A classic muscle car will always turn her head, and naps on the weekend are one of her greatest guilty pleasures. She lives in a converted attic with a way too fluffy cat and the voices in her head. She’ll tell you she thinks that’s a pretty good deal. Kris believes that love is love, no matter the gender of people involved, and that all love deserves to be celebrated.
Find her on her site https://kristbethke.com Facebook https://www.facebook.com/people/Kris-T-Bethke/100014524539852 or on Twitter https://twitter.com/kristbethke