Coming Soon – Corked (Wine Tasting Series Re-Release)

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Four years ago, very early on in my publishing journey, I wrote Spit or Swallow. It was a funny and hot little short story about a wine distributor and a sommelier butting heads over wine.

I hadn’t originally planned to write Aftertaste, but readers clamored for more of Sean and Lucas’s story, and I eventually wrapped up their happily-ever-after with Finish. 

Because they were short stories, I didn’t get an overwhelming amount of sales. I thought bundling them into a single file as The Wine Tasting Series might help, but the sales were even lower for that. Some of it, I think, was a lackluster cover and lack of promotion. I had other projects to work on though that needed to take priority, so I let it languish in my backlist.

A few months ago, I pulled it out and dusted it off and realized that while the plot itself was solid, my writing had drastically improved over the years. I began to ponder the idea of a re-release. Three short stories together came in at about 34,000 words, which was novella length. Could I fix it up so that I could bring new readers in?

As I polished the writing and tweaked the pacing so it flowed as a novella, I began to realize there were scenes that I could expand by showing, not telling. (My middle school English teacher would be so proud!)

And as the story came together, I realized it needed a new title. It didn’t take long before Corked popped into my head.  Once I had the title, a cover came together. And as I began the final editing process, I realized an epilogue would really add to the story. There was definitely more of Lucas and Sean’s story to tell. When it was all done, it came together with a grand total of 42,000 words. New readers will get to discover the story for the first time as a long novella and previous readers will enjoy almost 8,000 words of additional content!

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Title: Corked

Release Date: April 28, 2018

Length: 42,031 words (Novella)

Blurb:

Sean Powell is having a terrible day. When he walks into Bistro Argent, ready to unwind over a glass of wine with the sommelier, he’s stunned to discover his friend has been replaced by a hot young guy with big ideas. Lucas Spencer is determined to liven up the staid and stodgy wine list, but his brash approach alienates the wine distributor during their first meeting.

There’s no avoiding each other though and the more they butt heads, the hotter the tension between them gets. As they work together and their relationship progresses, they have to figure out how to blend their professional frustration and personal attraction without risking their careers.

Lucas is eleven years younger than Sean, and despite their sizzling chemistry and compatibility, Sean can’t quite believe the feelings are mutual. A wine tasting trip to Traverse City, Michigan threatens their fledgling relationship. Sean’s insecurities rise to the surface as Lucas’s fears of losing Sean lead to jealousy.

Does the relationship have legs or will they find out it’s corked?


There’s no pre-order for this book, but if you want to get your hands on Corked as soon as it’s available there are two options!

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New Release – “Between the Studs”

Between the Studs Banner VD

I didn’t plan to write a Valentine’s Day story this year. But I was relaxing in the bath on January 22, browsing Pinterest on my phone (because I like to live dangerously). There was some pin about installing shelves “between the studs”. The phrase immediately leaped out at me as a great book title, especially for an MMF poly story.

Before I knew what was happening, a plot bunny was chomping away at me and I had to get out of the bath to write it down. I wrote over 1,500 words that first night, then added another 3,500. It was going to be absolutely perfect for Valentine’s Day, so I talked to my co-writer and warned her I might be a bit slow getting the chapters for our story back to her while I focused on getting this story ready for a Valentine’s Day release.

What I thought was originally going to be a 10-15k short story quickly morphed into a monster 33k word novella.

Blurb:

After a busy and successful year at her bakery, divorcée Aimee Lucas decides to splurge on a bathroom renovation. The owner of Lucas’s Fine Cakes and Pastries is tired of lackluster Valentine’s Days, so she’s looking forward to a solo celebration this year. Why bother with a mediocre date when she can relax in a tub with a glass of wine?

Joshua Ward and Matt Mitchell co-own a construction company, but there’s a bit more to their partnership than they let on. Although both men have caught the eye of many a homeowner, they never mix business with pleasure.

When Aimee hires J&M Construction to remodel her bathroom, she never expects to find a date. Much less two.

As the project continues, Aimee, Matt, and Josh find themselves drawn to one another. Matt and Josh are happy together, but they’re looking for a woman to be their third, and it quickly becomes clear Aimee might just be whom they’ve been searching for.

With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, they all have decisions to make. Can Matt and Josh broach the subject without losing their customer? And will Aimee decide she just wants a fling with the hunky contractors, or is it time for her to take a leap of faith on something more?

Excerpt:

Paula nodded knowingly when Aimee finished. “They’re totally into you! I definitely didn’t get any cozy chats with them over coffee or flirtatious banter.”

“Yeah, but both of them? I mean, are they just hedging their bets? Figuring I’ll choose one or the other?”

“Maybe. Maybe not though. They could just be into that.”

“Into what?” Aimee’s eyes got big as she realized what Paula meant. “Oh. You mean …?”

“Mmhmm. Maybe they like gettin’ it on together with a gorgeous woman.”

Threesomes. Well that wasn’t something Aimee had ever considered. Well, there had been the one time in college where she’d sort of ended up in bed with a couple, but she hadn’t been into the girl enough to go down on her and it had involved a lot of drunken fumbling. It had been sort of hot though, she mused.

But two guys? That was something altogether different. And this was no college experimentation. She was a grown adult for goodness sake. She owned a house and a business. She couldn’t really be thinking about it. Could she?

“You’re thinking about it, aren’t you?” Paula teased.

“No!” Aimee protested. But Paula’s arched eyebrow and the disbelief etched on her face prompted her to clarify. “I mean, yes, I’m thinking about what you suggested but not because I’m considering doing it.”

“Why not?”

Aimee sputtered. “Because that’s crazy! And so not me.”

“When was the last time you got laid?”

“Way too long ago,” Aimee admitted. “But come on, I can’t just answer the door tomorrow in lingerie and fuck me heels and say ‘hey boys, wanna fuck me?”

Purchase:

Amazon (Universal Link)

Barnes & Noble – Pending

iTunes

Kobo

Payhip

Scribd

Smashwords

Add on Goodreads

 

 

Too Many Choices

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I’ve been working on the novel “In Mourning” for several years now. It’s finally coming together (I’m over 82k and it will likely end up between 100-110k when it’s complete).

One thing I’m still struggling with is the point of view and tense and I could really use your help deciding which to go with! I’ve taken the first 556 words of the story and created four different versions. Each is labeled with the PoV and the tense. Just comment below or go to my Facebook fan group to let me know which you like best!

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1st Person Present Tense

The wind whips his hair across his face, and he lifts a bare hand to brush it away. The same bitter, late-January wind snakes under the scarf I wear, chilling the sliver of skin between the collar of my shirt and my hairline. I shudder and huddle into my scarf, jamming my hands into the pockets of my overcoat. Heavy, dark wool or not, it isn’t doing a damn thing to keep me warm. The man I’ve been watching doesn’t seem affected by the temperature at all.

A muffled sob from my mother makes me glance away from him. My father’s arm tightens around her shoulder and she leans in to him, resting her head against his shoulder. The aching hole in my chest widens into a chasm at the sight of the casket in front of us.

Because God has chosen to call our brother, Calvin James Allen, from this life to Himself, we commit his body to the earth, for we are dust and onto dust we shall return.

But the Lord Jesus will change our mortal bodies to be like His in glory, for He is risen, the firstborn of the dead. So let us commend our brother to the Lord, that the Lord may embrace him in peace and raise up his body on the last day.

The priest’s voice drones on as tears clog my throat. Why, Cal? I wonder. Why the hell did you have to die? You were only twenty-eight!

 Unable to stand the sight of his casket for another second, I look out over the crowd and across the wind-whipped landscape. Mt. Calvary cemetery is perched in the West Hills of Portland with views of the Columbia River, Mt. Ranier, and Mt. St. Helen’s. If Cal has to be buried anywhere, at least it’s a beautiful place. I choke on the thought, unable to comprehend that it’s my baby brother we’re burying.

My gaze sweeps across the bevy of female mourners across the casket from me. There is no rhyme or reason to them, no unifying thread. A crunchy granola hippie chick stands between two women who could have been supermodels. It’s so Cal. He charmed everyone and he’d happily slept with any woman who caught his interest and returned it. Hell, one of them is clearly the Mrs. Robinson type, and at least twenty years Cal’s senior. Cal didn’t really have the attention span for long-term relationships, so most were probably one night stands or short, casual relationships, and yet, they’ve braved the cold January drizzle and look devastated by his death. He inspired that in people.

His male friends are easy to spot as well, all sporty, adventure-seeking types like Cal had been and those friends were grieving hard. But one man stood out and I find my gaze repeatedly returning to him. He’s tall, lean to the point of being lanky, with tangled black hair and sharp, high cheekbones. He’s young—early twenties at most—and almost androgynous looking. Dressed less formally than the majority of the mourners, he stands out in his black beanie and black peacoat layered over a grey hoodie. But it isn’t so much his dress as his expression that strikes me. He looks gutted, his eyes hollow and distant as he stares at the casket.

He looks the way I feel.

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1st Person Past Tense

The wind whipped his hair across his face, and he lifted a bare hand to brush it away. The same bitter, late-January wind snaked under the scarf I wore, chilling the sliver of skin between the collar of my shirt and my hairline. I shuddered and huddled into my scarf, jamming my hands into the pockets of my overcoat. Heavy, dark wool or not, it wasn’t doing a damn thing to keep me warm. The man I’d been watching didn’t seem affected by the temperature at all.

A muffled sob from my mother made me glance away from him. My father’s arm tightened around her shoulder and she leaned in to him, resting her head against his shoulder. The aching hole in my chest widened into a chasm at the sight of the casket in front of us.

Because God has chosen to call our brother, Calvin James Allen, from this life to Himself, we commit his body to the earth, for we are dust and onto dust we shall return. 

But the Lord Jesus will change our mortal bodies to be like His in glory, for He is risen, the firstborn of the dead. So let us commend our brother to the Lord, that the Lord may embrace him in peace and raise up his body on the last day.

The priest’s voice droned on as tears clogged in my throat. Why, Cal? I wondered. Why the hell did you have to die? You were only twenty-eight!

 Unable to stand the sight of his casket for another second, I looked out over the crowd and across the wind-whipped landscape. Mt. Calvary cemetery was perched in the West Hills of Portland with views of the Columbia River, Mt. Ranier, and Mt. St. Helen’s. If Cal had to be buried anywhere, at least it was a beautiful place. I choked on the thought, unable to comprehend that it was my baby brother we were burying.

My gaze swept across the bevy of female mourners across the casket from me. There was no rhyme or reason to them, no unifying thread. A crunchy granola hippie chick stood between two women who could have been supermodels. It was so Cal. He charmed everyone and he’d happily slept with any woman who caught his interest and returned it. Hell, one of them was clearly the Mrs. Robinson type, and at least twenty years Cal’s senior. Cal didn’t really have the attention span for long-term relationships, so most were probably one night stands or short, casual relationships, and yet, they’d braved the cold January drizzle and looked devastated by his death. He inspired that in people.

His male friends were easy to spot as well, all sporty, adventure-seeking types like Cal had been and those friends were grieving hard. But one man stood out and I found my gaze repeatedly returning to him. He was tall, lean to the point of being lanky, with tangled black hair and sharp, high cheekbones. He was young—early twenties at most—and almost androgynous looking. Dressed less formally than the majority of the mourners, he stood out in his black beanie and black peacoat layered over a grey hoodie. But it wasn’t so much his dress as his expression that struck me. He looked gutted, his eyes hollow and distant as he stared at the casket.

He looked the way I felt.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

3rd Person Present Tense

The wind whips his hair across his face, and he lifts a bare hand to brush it away. The same bitter, late-January wind snakes under the scarf Chris wore, chilling the sliver of skin between the collar of his shirt and his hairline. He shudders and huddles into his scarf, jamming his hands into the pockets of his overcoat. Heavy, dark wool or not, it isn’t doing a damn thing to keep him warm. The man he’s been watching doesn’t seem affected by the temperature at all.

A muffled sob from his mother makes Chris glance away from him. HIs father’s arm tightens around her shoulder and she leans in to him, resting her head against his shoulder. The aching hole in Chris’s chest widens into a chasm at the sight of the casket in front of them.

Because God has chosen to call our brother, Calvin James Allen, from this life to Himself, we commit his body to the earth, for we are dust and onto dust we shall return.

But the Lord Jesus will change our mortal bodies to be like His in glory, for He is risen, the firstborn of the dead. So let us commend our brother to the Lord, that the Lord may embrace him in peace and raise up his body on the last day.

The priest’s voice drones on as tears clog Chris’s throat. Why, Cal? he wonders. Why the hell did you have to die? You were only twenty-eight!

 Unable to stand the sight of his casket for another second, Chris looks out over the crowd and across the wind-whipped landscape. Mt. Calvary cemetery is perched in the West Hills of Portland with views of the Columbia River, Mt. Ranier, and Mt. St. Helen’s. If Cal has to be buried anywhere, at least it’s a beautiful place. He chokes on the thought, unable to comprehend that it’s his baby brother they’re burying.

Chris’s gaze sweeps across the bevy of female mourners across the casket from him. There’s no rhyme or reason to them, no unifying thread. A crunchy granola hippie chick stands between two women who could have been supermodels. It’s so Cal. He charmed everyone and he’d happily slept with any woman who caught his interest and returned it. Hell, one of them is clearly the Mrs. Robinson type, and at least twenty years Cal’s senior. Cal didn’t really have the attention span for long-term relationships, so most were probably one night stands or short, casual relationships, and yet, they’ve braved the cold January drizzle and look devastated by his death. He inspired that in people.

His male friends are easy to spot as well, all sporty, adventure-seeking types like Cal had been and those friends are grieving hard. But one man stands out and Chris finds his gaze repeatedly returning to him. He’s tall, lean to the point of being lanky, with tangled black hair and sharp, high cheekbones. He’s young—early twenties at most—and almost androgynous looking. Dressed less formally than the majority of the mourners, he stands out in his black beanie and black peacoat layered over a grey hoodie. But it isn’t so much his dress as his expression that strikes Chris. He looks gutted, his eyes hollow and distant as he stares at the casket.

He looks the way Chris feels.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

3rd Person, Past Tense

The wind whipped his hair across his face, and he lifted a bare hand to brush it away. The same bitter, late-January wind snaked under the scarf Chris wore, chilling the sliver of skin between the collar of his shirt and his hairline. He shuddered and huddled into his scarf, jamming his hands into the pockets of his overcoat. Heavy, dark wool or not, it wasn’t doing a damn thing to keep him warm. The man he’d been watching didn’t seem affected by the temperature at all.

A muffled sob from his mother made Chris glance away from him. HIs father’s arm tightened around her shoulder and she leaned in to him, resting her head against his shoulder. The aching hole in Chris’s chest widened into a chasm at the sight of the casket in front of them.

Because God has chosen to call our brother, Calvin James Allen, from this life to Himself, we commit his body to the earth, for we are dust and onto dust we shall return.

But the Lord Jesus will change our mortal bodies to be like His in glory, for He is risen, the firstborn of the dead. So let us commend our brother to the Lord, that the Lord may embrace him in peace and raise up his body on the last day.

The priest’s voice droned on as tears clogged in Chris’s throat. Why, Cal? he wondered. Why the hell did you have to die? You were only twenty-eight!

Unable to stand the sight of his casket for another second, Chris looked out over the crowd and across the wind-whipped landscape. Mt. Calvary cemetery was perched in the West Hills of Portland with views of the Columbia River, Mt. Ranier, and Mt. St. Helen’s. If Cal had to be buried anywhere, at least it was a beautiful place. He choked on the thought, unable to comprehend that it was his baby brother they were burying.

Chris’s gaze swept across the bevy of female mourners across the casket from him. There was no rhyme or reason to them, no unifying thread. A crunchy granola hippie chick stood between two women who could have been supermodels. It was so Cal. He charmed everyone and he’d happily slept with any woman who caught his interest and returned it. Hell, one of them was clearly the Mrs. Robinson type, and at least twenty years Cal’s senior. Cal didn’t really have the attention span for long-term relationships, so most were probably one night stands or short, casual relationships, and yet, they’d braved the cold January drizzle and looked devastated by his death. He inspired that in people.

His male friends were easy to spot as well, all sporty, adventure-seeking types like Cal had been and those friends were grieving hard. But one man stood out and Chris found his gaze repeatedly returning to him. He was tall, lean to the point of being lanky, with tangled black hair and sharp, high cheekbones. He was young—early twenties at most—and almost androgynous looking. Dressed less formally than the majority of the mourners, he stood out in his black beanie and black peacoat layered over a grey hoodie. But it wasn’t so much his dress as his expression that struck Chris. He looked gutted, his eyes hollow and distant as he stared at the casket.

He looked the way Chris felt.

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Which version do you like best?

A Birthday Gift for You!

It’s my birthday! *throws confetti*

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To celebrate my 36th birthday, I’m offering 36% off on all of my self-published titles!

Click on the PayHip button below to go to my PayHip storefront, add the books you want to your cart, and enter “BIRTHDAY” when you checkout. There’s no limit on how many books you can use it on and it expires on December 25.

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New Release – Famiglia (Italian)

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For over a year now, I’ve been working with Quioxte Translation (formerly Francy et Alex Translations) and I can’t speak highly enough about them. They’ve been a joy to work with.

In spring of 2016, I released Compromessi, the Italian translation of “Equals”.  Last November I released the second book, Partners (apparently there’s not a direct translation for the title in Italian).

Because the third book is set around the holidays, we decided to wait until this December to publish the third book. It is now live!

After much internal struggle, I decided to release it on Kindle Unlimited. I’ve avoided doing that with any other books. I’ll be honest, I have a lot of concerns that long-term, KU devalues books and harms authors sales.

But sales are down all over and when the people at Quioxte Translations strongly suggested I enroll Famiglia in KU, I decided to take a gamble. They know far more about the Italian market than I do and I’m looking at it like an experiment. I’ll see how the book does and go from there.

So for the next three months, Famiglia will be exclusively available on Amazon. Click on the image below to grab your copy!

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The Soldier Next Door – Book Release

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Title: Soldier Next Door

Tagline: Sometimes, love is right next door.

Reader Advisory: This book contains brief mentions of PTSD and war-related injuries.

Publisher’s Note: This book was previously released as part of the Right Here, Right Now anthology with Pride Publishing.

General Release Date: 28th November 2017

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Blurb:

All twenty-seven-year-old Travis Schultz is supposed to do is keep an eye on the kid next door for a few weeks while his parents are out of town. Eighteen-year-old Owen Wheeler has other plans. Newly graduated, with plans to enlist in the Army, Owen wants to get laid before he ships out and he’s had a crush on Travis for years.

The age difference and the responsibility he’s been entrusted with make Travis hesitant, but the attraction is too much to deny. When the casual one-night stand turns into something more, Travis has no idea how to tell Owen how he feels. He misses his opportunity before Owen leaves and is left at home with a broken heart when Owen cuts off all contact.

When they meet again years later, Owen is in the midst of recovery from being injured in the line of duty and Travis will have to decide if he can forgive Owen and try again.

Excerpt:

“Travis, sweetie, can you grab the potato salad out of the fridge?”

Travis glanced up from his phone to look at his mom. “Sure, which one?”

“Oh, I made the mustard potato salad since you’re home. I know it’s your favorite. Your dad bitched and bitched, but I promised I’d make him some of his favorite soon.” Judy Schultz fussed with the flowers one more time, even though they were already perfect.

Travis stood and slipped his phone into his pocket. “No, not which potato salad, which fridge?”

“Oh.” Her hand fluttered distractedly. “The one in the basement.” She yelled after him as he turned to walk away. “Oh, and can you grab the big cooler we always put drinks in? There’s ice in it already. And once that’s up, can you set up the drinks on the deck?”

“Sure, Mom.” Travis chuckled to himself and jogged down the stairs. She was always a little flustered before her annual Fourth of July barbecue. It was a huge party—half the neighborhood came, along with all of her book club friends and their families.

Travis paused when he reached the bottom step. There was a man sitting on the couch, knees spread wide, elbows propped on them, head hanging.

“Hey,” Travis called out in a soft voice, not wanting to startle the guy, but he jerked upright and for a moment Travis would swear there was sheer terror in his eyes.

“Fuck,” he swore. Travis saw him take a deep breath and when he set down the can of soda he’d been holding and placed it on the coffee table, his hand was trembling.

“Shit, sorry. Didn’t mean to startle you, man…Owen?”

“Hey.” He stood and half-turned to face Travis.

Owen was taller now. A hell of a lot more bulked up. His voice was even deeper. And his eyes had the shadowed appearance of a man who’d seen far too much. But he still looked like the guy Travis had never intended to fall for.

Travis swallowed hard and stared at the man who’d broken his heart four years ago.

“You’re home.”

Links:

Amazon

Goodreads

Pride Publishing

 

 

Leavin’ on a Jet Plane

Over a year ago, my mom said, “I’d like to hike somewhere with you before I’m too old.”

I semi-jokingly replied, “You find the budget, I’ll find the time!” Cause let’s be realistic, broke writer here.

Tonight we get on a plane on fly to Dublin.

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The trip has changed a little in that time. The original plan was for the two of us to hike across the country from Dublin to the West coast. A stress fracture in my mom’s foot derailed that plan fairly quickly, and we decided it would be nicer if we didn’t leave my dad at home.

But we’re still going from Dublin to the West coast (albeit in a car, and along the coast). There will be shorter day hikes and lots of time to explore the countryside.

And after three weeks, they’ll drop me off at Helena Stone’s house and I’ll stay with her and her husband for another two and a half weeks.  There will be writing of course, and day trips into Dublin to see places I’ve heard her talk about but barely imagined I’d visit.

I have a date with a very cool Irish guy I’ve been talking to for a few months. Long story, but suffice it to say when you post on an Irish message board you’ll find the Irish are a VERY friendly bunch.

The whole thing will be a working vacation—because I definitely can’t just take five and a half weeks off from writing—but I am so excited it’s ridiculous. I’ll definitely be on social media less, but I WILL take a ton of pictures.

It’s still a little surreal. I’m not sure it’s really sunk in that I’ll be staying in Ireland for almost six weeks. But my packed suitcase says otherwise and in a little over twelve hours, I’ll be leaving Toronto airport and heading straight for Dublin.

The real question is, am I ever going to want to come home?

Calm – General Release

“Calm” is available for general release today!

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Here’s a little teaser from the book.

Jesse licked his lips, appearing to consider his words before speaking. “I know you agreed to meet me here tonight—I mean, you messaged me back, which I took as a sign that you were willing to spend some time with me.”

It was Carter’s turn to frown. “I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t.”

“Are you sure?” Jesse asked gently. “Because I can’t help feeling I’m making you incredibly uncomfortable.”

Carter’s chest ached at Jesse’s earnest words. God, he was so fucked up.

“It’s not you.” He paused, then laughed with relief when Jesse grinned and broke the awkwardness between them at last. “I’m sorry. It’s a bit early to be spouting relationship clichés, especially when we hardly know each other.”

“Hey, I’m just glad you don’t look like you’re about to bolt,” Jesse told him, head cocked as sat back in his seat.

“I’m not,” Carter assured, “and you’re right. I wouldn’t have messaged you back if I didn’t want to see you again. I’m just out of practice with dating.”

“What makes you think this is a date?” Jesse’s eyes twinkled and he picked up his menu.

“Honestly, nothing. I’m a bit hopeless in social situations lately.”

Jesse dropped one corner of the menu to reach across the table and lay a hand on Carter’s.

“Relax. I asked you to dinner because I enjoyed spending time with you last week. I thought there was something between us worth exploring. But whatever happens depends on you, too. Tonight isn’t about business and I don’t want you to feel as though you’re being forced to be here.”

“I don’t.” Carter struggled to smile through his lingering guilt. “I meant what I said before—I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t want to be.”

Jesse’s megawatt smile lit his face once more. “Then let me buy you dinner.”

Things between them were easier from there. Carter and Jesse fell naturally into conversation, ranging through various topics rather than focusing on any one thing. They shared oysters on the half shell and tuna tartare to start, then moved on to NY strip steaks for the main course, with another bottle of wine.

Carter relaxed as they ate and talked, even while his attraction to Jesse increased. The idea of acting on the impulse appealed, but it worried Carter too. He was out of his depth when it came to fooling around with men. He’d been dating, but hadn’t gone beyond a few kisses with any of the men he’d seen. Jesse, so confident and assertive, was on a whole other plane from any of them, even when Carter included Riley in the mix.

Then again, he didn’t really know Riley anymore, did he? When it came down to it, Riley had more in common with Jesse now than he did with Carter. Maybe that has always been the case, Carter thought, and his stomach dropped with the realization.

Pride

Amazon US 

Amazon UK

 

 

 

Right Here, Right Now Anthology – The Soldier Next Door – Early Download

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If you pre-ordered a copy of the “Right Here, Right Now” anthology, you should already have it! If you didn’t, you can run to Pride’s Website and download your copy now. Otherwise, you’ll have to wait until October 3 to read my short story, “The Soldier Next Door” along with short stories from Lily Harlem, Samantha Cayto, Alexa Milne, Jon Keys, and Thom Collins.

Summary:

Sometimes, love is right next door.

All twenty-seven-year-old Travis Schultz is supposed to do is keep an eye on the kid next door for a few weeks while his parents are out of town. Eighteen-year-old Owen Wheeler has other plans. Newly graduated, with plans to enlist in the Army, Owen wants to get laid before he ships out and he’s had a crush on Travis for years.

The age difference and the responsibility he’s been entrusted with make Travis hesitant, but the attraction is too much to deny. When the casual one-night stand turns into something more, Travis has no idea how to tell Owen how he feels. He misses his opportunity before Owen leaves and is left at home with a broken heart when Owen cuts off all contact.

When they meet again years later, Owen is in the midst of recovery from being injured in the line of duty and Travis will have to decide if he can forgive Owen and try again.

Reader Advisory: This book contains brief mentions of PTSD and war-related injuries.

Excerpt:

Owen was still sleeping when Travis awoke. He was sprawled on the bed next to Travis, on his stomach. Travis’ fingertips itched with the need to touch him. He wanted to trace them down the long lines of Owen’s back.

It was morning now. Not so late he was worried he’d missed work, but late enough he knew he’d have to get up soon. For a moment, he contemplated calling in to work and staying in bed with Owen all day. But that had never been part of the deal.

The sex had been amazing. Phenomenal. But it was a one-off. Four—five—off, maybe? One night. He knew Owen didn’t want more. Of course this had to end, but that didn’t mean it had to end this second. Maybe he could convince Owen to take another shower with him, for a final soapy hand job or a quick, wet rim job. Travis had enjoyed himself too much to stop now.

“I’m heading to work,” he said forty-five minutes later. He’d sucked Owen off in the shower. Afterward, Owen had staggered back to bed and collapsed. He’d snored while Travis had gotten ready for work.

Owen squinted up at him. “Shit, I should leave.”

Travis shrugged. “If you want to go back to sleep, that’s fine. Just lock up behind you.”

“Cool, thanks.”

Travis leaned in to kiss him goodbye, then hesitated. Is that crossing a line?

Owen let out a small, annoyed-sounding grumble, looped an arm around Travis’ neck and pulled him down until their lips met.

What Travis had meant as a perfunctory goodbye became a lingering kiss. They were both panting by the time Travis tore himself away. “Damn.”

He stared down at Owen and shook his head. Funny, he’d warned Owen about the way feelings could get complicated and here he was the one having a hard time ending the night.