A lasting connection needs more than simply surviving a winter together—they’ll have to outsmart danger, let down their defenses and open their hearts.
Owen Han has a fresh lease on life—he’s kicked cancer’s ass and is roaring through his bucket list. The former investment banker hopes to find his next challenge in Alaska, volunteering alongside park rangers and fulfilling his childhood dreams of snowy winters and rustic life. Of course, those dreams did tend to feature big strapping mountain men in vivid detail…
Ranger Quilleran Ramsey would like to be anywhere other than dealing with newbie volunteers. And really, the only thing he needs less than a green volunteer “partner” is the flirty attentions of a buff city boy who doesn’t look ready to last a week, let alone an Alaskan winter. They’re all wrong for each other, even if Quill’s traitorous body enjoys the flirting more than it should.
As the weeks pass, the two snowbound men give in to temptation. But can their seasonal romance last until spring? For them to have a future together, each will have to trust the other…while hoping that the harsh elements and omnipresent dangers don’t destroy what happiness they’ve found in the moment.
One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!
This book is approximately 89,000 words
Series: Frozen Hearts #3
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: Sept. 23 (ebook/audio), Oct 1 (print)
Length (Print & Ebook): 89,000 words
Subgenre: m/m contemporary romance/ action adventure m/m romance, interracial romance
Hi! I’m so thrilled to be here on Two Chicks Obsessed, one of my favorite blogs! I’m here with some Q&A about ARCTIC HEAT, my newest release in the Frozen Hearts series set in Alaska. As with the other two books in the series, this one stands alone fine—there’s only the briefest of mentions of the prior books’ couples and no spoilers. This is my opposites-attract, odd couple roommates, snowbound romance as a seasoned ranger finds himself paired with a newbie volunteer for the winter season where they’ll be snowed in together at a remote Alaska state park. Quill and Owen were so much fun to write, and I can’t wait for readers to meet them! Got other questions for me? Be sure and hit me up on social media! I love hearing from my readers!
- Where did you draw inspiration for an Alaskan series from?
- I’ve always loved the Arctic setting, and I have a fond place in my heart for the old-school Alaskan romances from authors like Nora Roberts and Debbie Macomber and other category romances taking place in Alaska. When I was brainstorming a new series, I wanted to capture that feel—big scenery, rugged terrain, real dangers, isolated settings—but in a modern way that welcomed some LGBTQ pairings and reflected changes, both in Alaska itself, but also in the romance genre. I wanted romances that felt fresh and real but still had all the appeal of some of my favorite Alaska tropes, like snowbound and close proximity!
- How much ‘world building’ takes place before you start writing?
- For this series, there was a ton of background research. Maps. Biographies. Websites. Message boards. State documents. Documentaries. I tried to really immerse myself in the world as best I could and then started fleshing out the plot from that point. While completely fictional, I did try to ground the series in reality, basing locales on actual places I discovered in my research and trying to make the plot points feasible. I also do a lot of characterization work before I start writing, really digging deep into conflict, motivation, wants, need, and desires for each character.
- When writing a series how do you keep things fresh, for both your readers and also yourself?
- Each book in the Frozen Hearts series has a different couple with unique background and unique hurdles to their HEA. This keeps things fresh for me because each character needs different things and as a result, each book is very different. I also kept things fresh by doing different times of year—Book 1 is Summer into Fall. Book 2 is Late Spring into Summer. Book 3 is Fall into Winter. Also the tropes vary from book-to-book within the series. Book 1, ARCTIC SUN is very much an opposites-attract, hurt/comfort romance. Book 2, ARCTIC WILD is a May/December romance with a plane crash at its center. Book 3, ARCTIC HEAT, is a fish-out-of-water, close proximity, snowbound romance. Varying the tropes kept me on my toes, and I think it also lets each book stand on its own with readers. I also tried for not too much crossover between books so that each truly can stand alone and reader can read in the order that they prefer.
- What were the key challenges you faced when writing this book?
- Writing from Oregon, my biggest challenge was in not being there! Absolutely, not being able to take a weekend trip to explore a locale in the book was a big issue for me throughout the series. I had AMAZING beta readers for the series who were from Alaska, and I owe a huge debt to them.
- What’s your favorite scene from this book?
- Without giving away too many spoilers, I have to say that while this isn’t a holiday romance, the Christmas scene is probably my favorite romantic moment in the book, but there were so many little moments and scenes I loved!
Thank you so very much for having me! I hope you check out ARCTIC HEAT!
“Tea for everyone. Then a hot shower and lots of blankets,” Owen declared as they entered the building, bossy streak making a blessed reappearance right when Quill really needed to not be the one thinking. If Owen had a plan, so much the better because Quill wasn’t good for much besides stripping off his gear, stowing his piece, stomping upstairs, and flopping into a kitchen chair. Owen draped one of the blankets from the couch around his shoulders before doing the same for himself, wearing it like a cape as he made tea. “Bourbon in yours? I found a bottle in the cabinet the other week.”
“Yeah.” Quill didn’t often imbibe, but he needed the burn of the liquor even more than any warmth-giving properties. The bourbon was there exactly for nights like this one where Quill had done his best and it still hadn’t been enough. Fucking universe and its random acts of cruelty.
After adding a healthy glug of liquor to each of their mugs, Owen shoved a cup at Quill. He also put a plate of cookies from the batch that got baked on the table. “Here you go. Eat something so the alcohol doesn’t hit too hard.”
“Feels like I should be the one taking care of you,” Quill admitted after he’d had a few sips of tea, let the warmth and burn work past the tightness in his throat and chest.
“We can take care of each other,” Owen countered, pulling his chair close to Quill’s. “That’s what we’re here for, right?”
A few hours ago, Quill would have argued that being alone was the best way to cope with something like this—find a way to push through and on to the next day either with the aid of some strong drink or just a restless night spent replaying the events until sleep did its thing, softened the edges of the awfulness. But when Owen grabbed his hand, squeezed, and looked at him with such compassion in his eyes, Quill couldn’t find it in himself to pull away.
“Yeah,” he said, even as he knew that he shouldn’t let himself come to need Owen like this, to lean on him. He and Hattie had always tended to retreat to their own corners after a hard shift, and he prided himself on being a strong man. Sure, accidents like this affected him as they would anyone, but he’d always tried to handle those emotions on his own. Harsh memories of his father’s comments about men who showed their feelings didn’t help any, but lately all those memories, all the family drama, seemed more distant. Less sharp.
And funny how without that mantle of a painful past, his present seemed somehow more hopeful, old wounds and past fears no match for Owen. In fact, they’d been on the verge of another disagreement when Owen had dropped everything to come help. And now here he was, taking care of Quill yet again. Owen simply didn’t seem to have it in him to hold a grudge too long. Quill would be a fool to pull away now, even if he knew the next night like this, the inevitable one after Owen left, would hurt that much more. But that moment, all he wanted to do was hold Owen close, take every comfort he offered from Christmas lights to hot toddies to underdone gingerbread to that strong hand of his, holding on when Quill needed it most.
Sweet, slow burn, opposites attract. It was….nice.
The third in the series she set in Alaska, this time we get the introverted park ranger and extroverted volunteer. Of course they are paired together.
I really loved the story- Owen the volunteer trying so hard to at least be friends with Quill. Hearing about all that they do as rangers and volunteers. The Northern Lights, the super short days, the cabin fever.
I just didn’t really feel the heat with Owen and Quill. And even though I really liked Owen, I just didn’t see him living a remote life like that. Several times in the book he stated he was going crazy from not having anyone to talk to.
The story is definitely readable- especially if you are a fan of the author and/or Alaska. I’m just not going to put it in her top ten.
3.5 pieces of eye candy
Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer. Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Her critically acclaimed and fan-favorite LGBTQ romance series include the #FrozenHearts, #OutOfUniform, #Gaymers, #PortlandHeat, #RainbowCove and #PerfectHarmony series.
To find out what she’s working on next and other fun extras, check out her website: annabethalbert.com or connect with Annabeth on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Spotify! Also, be sure to sign up for her newsletter for free ficlets, bonus reads, and contests. The fan group, Annabeth’s Angels, on Facebook is also a great place for bonus content and exclusive contests.
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