Months after his husband’s death, Garrett Blaine desperately needs a fresh start. He sells his house in Seattle, leaves his accounting job, and starts bartending in Bluewater Bay. There he meets a man who wakes up his nearly forgotten libido.
Jesse Connelly’s friend with benefits bolted after Jesse disclosed his HIV status. Stood up and stinging, Jesse tries to drown his sorrows . . . and finds an unexpected connection with a lonely bartender.
Jesse and Garrett quickly bond over a shared love of comics and card games, and they can’t get enough of each other between the sheets. Not even a bumpy start and a fifteen-year age gap can derail them as they go from strangers to lovers, then friends, then much more.
But as Garrett’s feelings for Jesse deepen, so does his grief for the man he lost—especially as he sees hints of his late husband in his new boyfriend. Now Garrett has to figure out if Jesse is his second chance at true love, or if Jesse’s just filling in for the man he’s never fully grieved. And he needs to figure it out soon, because Jesse’s starting to wonder the same thing.
I helped him carry the books to the cash register. As I rang them up and he pulled out his wallet, Garrett did a double take. “Holy shit. Magic: The Gathering?” He picked up one of the starter decks off the rack. “They still make this game?”
“You know it?”
“Yeah. One of my roommates in college taught me to play.” He hung the deck back up. “I can’t even remember the last time I played. I’ve probably forgotten everything.”
“You’d be surprised. I know guys who learned when it first came out in the mid-1990s, then picked it up again years later and played it just fine. I mean, as long as you know the basic rules, you just follow the directions on the cards.”
He seemed to consider that for a moment. “True. I don’t remember it being all that complicated.”
“Well, it didn’t use to be. They’ve, uh, added to it.”
“Yeah? You play?”
I nodded. “We have tournaments here, actually.” I nodded toward the tables, which were currently empty. “I play in them whenever I’m not working.”
Garrett glanced at the tables, lips pursed. Then he tossed a starter deck and some boosters on top of the books.
As I scanned them, I said, “If you ever want to play, say the word. I’ve got plenty of decks at home.” And why did my heart start pounding as soon as I’d asked? It wasn’t like I’d suggested we go on a date or something.
But as he always seemed to do when I’d said something that sounded stupid to me, he smiled. “I might take you up on that.” He paused, then added, “If you don’t mind me being a little rusty.”
“Sounds like fun. I’ll go easy on you.” I very nearly cringed. Every other thing I said to him came out sounding like it could be seriously misconstrued.
God help me, but the man winked. “You don’t have to do that. I’m pretty sure it’ll come back to me.”
“Yeah. We’ll see.” I chuckled, hoping he didn’t notice how jittery I suddenly was as I rang up the cards and books. If he did, he didn’t say anything.
After he’d paid and I’d bagged everything, I handed it all over the counter.
“Thanks,” he said. “This should keep me busy for a while.”
“You’d be surprised—most people blow through Wolf’s Landing in no time.”
“We’ll see.” That hint of shyness materialized again in the slight dip of his chin. “I’m, uh, not that fast of a reader.”
“Well, at least you can stretch it out for a while. I blazed through the first four books in two weeks, and had to wait months for the next one.” I sighed dramatically. “It was torture, I’m telling you.”
Garrett laughed. “I’m sure. Okay, well, I’ll let you get back to work.” He paused. “You coming by the bar tonight?”
I am now. My heart sped up. “You want me to?”
Our eyes locked. For a few seconds, we were both silent, the awkward tension of an unspoken dare hanging between us.
Then he swallowed. “It’s always good to see you.”
I moistened my lips. “I’ll be there after my shift, then.”
His face lit up. “Looking forward to it.”
You and me both.
He left, and before the door had even swung shut behind him, Dexy appeared beside me, craning her neck to watch him go. “That your new boo?”
“My ‘new boo’?” I rolled my eyes. “Seriously?”
She smothered a giggle and elbowed me. “I’m kidding. We both know he has to be your insatiable sex toy for a few months before he gets upgraded to boo status.”
A gruff laugh from behind us turned me around, and I found Simon smirking at me.
I wagged a finger at him. “Not a word.”
“What?” He put up his hands and batted his eyes. “I said nothing.”
Dexy snorted. “Simon says . . .” She pointed at the window. “That dude is Jesse’s new boo.”
Simon laughed harder. Dexy giggled.
I just rolled my eyes. “I hate you both.”
But deep down, I kind of hoped they were onto something.
About Bluewater Bay
Welcome to Bluewater Bay! This quiet little logging town on Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula has been stagnating for decades, on the verge of ghost town status. Until a television crew moves in to film Wolf’s Landing, a soon-to-be cult hit based on the wildly successful shifter novels penned by local author Hunter Easton.
Wolf’s Landing’s success spawns everything from merchandise to movie talks, and Bluewater Bay explodes into a mecca for fans and tourists alike. The locals still aren’t quite sure what to make of all this—the town is rejuvenated, but at what cost? And the Hollywood-based production crew is out of their element in this small, mossy seaside locale. Needless to say, sparks fly.
This collaborative story world is brought to you by eleven award-winning, best-selling LGBTQ romance authors: L.A. Witt, L.B. Gregg, Z.A. Maxfield, Heidi Belleau, Rachel Haimowitz, Anne Tenino, Amy Lane, SE Jakes, G.B. Gordon, Jaime Samms and Ally Blue. Each contemporary novel stands alone, but all are built around the town and the people of Bluewater Bay and the Wolf’s Landing media empire.
L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer who has finally been released from the purgatorial corn maze of Omaha, Nebraska, and now spends her time on the southwestern coast of Spain. In between wondering how she didn’t lose her mind in Omaha, she explores the country with her husband, several clairvoyant hamsters, and an ever-growing herd of rabid plot bunnies. She also has substantially more time on her hands these days, as she has recruited a small army of mercenaries to search South America for her nemesis, romance author Lauren Gallagher, but don’t tell Lauren. And definitely don’t tell Lori A. Witt or Ann Gallagher. Neither of those twits can keep their mouths shut . . .
Connect with L.A.:
- Website: www.gallagherwitt.com
- Author Blog: gallagherwitt.blogspot.com
- Personal Blog: navywifeadventures.blogspot.
- Twitter: @GallagherWitt
- Facebook: facebook.com//L-A-Witt-MM-Fiction
- Goodreads: goodreads.com/GallagherWitt
To celebrate the release of New Hand, one lucky winner will receive a $10 Riptide credit and their choice of two ebooks off LA Witt’s backlist (not counting New Hand)! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on December 23, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!