Release Blitz ~ Hacker Lawry by Sam E. Kraemer (Exclusive Excerpt + Giveaway)

HACKER LAWRY

THE LONELY HEROES SERIES – BOOK FOUR

Cover Artist – Arden O’Keefe (K.S.L. Designs)

BLURB

Lawrence ‘Lawry’ Schatz –

Heartbroken? Check. Unemployed? Check. Homeless? Check. Self-medicating? As often as possible.

My life has been upended with a three-word text, and a meeting with my boss’s boss nearly finishes me off. I’m in a downward spiral, and I have no intentions of pulling out. My brother Hank has other ideas. He’s called in a big gun, Gabriele Torrente, who drags me to New York and pushes me to get myself together.

At a family event, I hook up with the hottest guy I’ve ever met, intending to just relieve some tension. The guy turns out to be more than I could imagine. He’s sassy, opinionated, and he completely sets me on my ear. I can tell Maxim Partee won’t put up with my crap. I made a huge mistake with him, but he still agrees to be my friend, and that is precisely what I desperately need. I live under no illusions he’ll ever need me in return.

##

Maxim ‘Maxi’ Partee –

Sexy? Check. Successful? Check. Lonely? Very much so. Power bottom? You bet your… bottom.

I have a successful business—two of them as a matter of fact. I have friends I cherish, and I love my life. I keep telling myself it’s more than enough for me. I choose the men I spend time with, and it’s always on my terms.

An unexpected hook-up at a birthday party leads me down an unanticipated path where I meet a man who has been crushed by mountain of disastrous events, and he’s doing his damnedest to push everyone away so he can quietly self-destruct. Why in the hell can’t I just walk away?

This fictional story is approximately 86,000 words in length. It is the fourth book in “The Lonely Heroes Series.” TRIGGER WARNING: Discussions of suicide and description of an attempt.

Continue reading “Release Blitz ~ Hacker Lawry by Sam E. Kraemer (Exclusive Excerpt + Giveaway)”

Blog Tour ~ Afloat by Isabelle Adler (Exclusive Excerpt + Excerpt + Giveaway)

Title: Afloat

Series: Staying Afloat, Book Three

Author: Isabelle Adler

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 02/15/2021

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 70900

Genre: Science Fiction, LGBTQIA+, sci-fi, spaceships/pilots, action-adventure, space battles, abduction, aliens, alien ships, bisexual, demisexual, military

Add to Goodreads

Description

No place is safe anymore.

Matt and his crew know it all too well—and it’s especially true now as the war with the Alraki has reached the heart of Federation space and struck close to home. Suddenly, Matt is faced with a difficult choice. He has the opportunity to sway the tide of the war and rectify a past wrong by helping the Fleet obtain a groundbreaking Alraki technology. But to do so, he must risk his ship and the lives of his crewmates.

With Matt’s archenemy, the infamous Captain Rodgers, still on the loose and bent on revenge, the Alraki aren’t the only ones who pose a deadly threat to Matt and the people most dear to his heart. With danger and betrayal haunting their steps, Matt and Ryce must find a way to save their friends even as sinister secrets from the past threaten to tear them apart.

This time, the price of staying afloat might be higher than what Matt is willing to pay.

Afloat is the third book in Isabelle Adler’s exciting debut series, Staying Afloat, and concludes the series. For best enjoyment, advise reading the books in order.

Continue reading “Blog Tour ~ Afloat by Isabelle Adler (Exclusive Excerpt + Excerpt + Giveaway)”

Blog Tour ~ Wonderland by J. Scott Coatsworth (Review + Unique Excerpt + Giveaway)

Wonderland - J. Scott Coatsworth

J. Scott Coatsworth has a new gay post-zombie apocalypse Christmas book out: “Wonderland.” And there’s a giveaway!

Zeke is a hermit in his late forties who lives a quiet life in a small cabin in the Western Montana mountains, a few miles outside of Thompson Falls. He’s gotten used to being alone since the end of the world, and has everything he needs. Everything but someone to talk to.

Nathan is a younger man on a cross-country trek, searching the country for someone… anyone still alive. Saddled with a ghost from his old life and a case of OCD, he stumbles upon Thompson Falls and a pack of rabid dogs.

Rescued by Zeke, he has to figure out how to be human again. And with Christmas just a week away, both men have to figure out if there’s something left to be hopeful for, and if they might have a future together.

Get it At Amazon

Continue reading “Blog Tour ~ Wonderland by J. Scott Coatsworth (Review + Unique Excerpt + Giveaway)”

Blog Tour ~ Surrounded by Silence by Eric Huffbind (Interview + Exclusive Excerpt +Giveaway)

BLOG TOUR

Book Title: Surrounded by Silence

Author: Eric Huffbind

Cover Artist: Eric Huffbind

Release Date: October 14, 2020

Genre/s: Contemporary Gay Male Romance

Trope/s: Billionaires, Hurt/Comfort, Post-Divorce, Middle Age

Themes: Learning what it means to be selfless rather than selfish.

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 71 000 words/259 pages

This is a sequel to The Rescuer, but can be read as a stand-alone.

Goodreads

 

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Amazon UK

Lonely billionaire, Samuel Barron, has finally met someone he finds himself falling for, but can he handle a romance for a gentleman whose entire world is surrounded by silence?

 

Blurb

After public humiliation, Sam Barron has come to the realization his billions can’t buy him love or happiness. Despondent and feeling like his life is in a downward spiral, he comes to realize he needs some professional help. Despite trepidations, Sam turns to Jason Parker, a social worker who at his heart, is a rescuer. Even though Sam had been so hateful towards him in the past, Jason can’t help but think Sam deserves to suffer. Jason tells Sam straight out, “You’re a spoiled brat without a shred of humility!”

Jason has deep concerns about helping Sam, but might be willing, if Sam volunteers at a soup kitchen. Grudgingly, Sam accepts Jason’s condition, and while performing his volunteer work, meets the flirtatious Noah Wagner. Noah is close in age, attractive, and Sam likes the way he feels whenever he’s around him. Noah is the first person Sam has known who is profoundly deaf. So, how is Sam to navigate a romantic interest with a man who can’t hear a word he says?

Surrounded by Silence, a Contemporary Gay Male Romance, is a sequel to Mr. Huffbind’s debut novel, The Rescuer. However, this book can be read as a stand-alone. If you enjoy a story where the villain becomes the hero, you will love Surrounded by Silence.

Continue reading “Blog Tour ~ Surrounded by Silence by Eric Huffbind (Interview + Exclusive Excerpt +Giveaway)”

Blog Tour ~ Skythane (Liminal Sky: Oberon Cycle Book 1) by J. Scott Coatsworth (Review + Unique Excerpt + Giveaway)

Skythane - J. Scott Coatsworth

J. Scott Coatsworth has a new queer sci fi book out, Liminal Sky: Oberon Cycle Book 1: “Skythane.”

Jameson Havercamp, a psych from a conservative religious colony, has come to Oberon—unique among the Common Worlds—in search of a rare substance called pith. He’s guided through the wilds on his quest by Xander Kinnson, a handsome, cocky skythane with a troubled past.

Neither knows that Oberon is facing imminent destruction. Even as the world starts to fall apart around them, they have no idea what’s coming—or the bond that will develop between them as they race to avert a cataclysm.

Together, they will journey to uncover the secrets of this strange and singular world, even as it takes them beyond the bounds of reality itself to discover what truly binds them.

Get It On Amazon

 

Continue reading “Blog Tour ~ Skythane (Liminal Sky: Oberon Cycle Book 1) by J. Scott Coatsworth (Review + Unique Excerpt + Giveaway)”

Release Blitz ~ Cinderella Proposal by Harley Grace (Exclusive Excerpt + Giveaway)

1

Release Blitz, Excerpt & Giveaway:

Cinderella Proposal by Harley Grace

Cinderella Proposal Ebook

The Boys of Bliss, Book 2

David wasn’t expecting his ex to be at his friend’s wedding—especially not as the groom.

Six months ago, David’s relationship disintegrated, but when a colleague invites him to his wedding at the newest gay-friendly island resort right off the coast of Florida, he sees his chance to put himself back out there. It turns out groom number two is none other than his ex-boyfriend. He needs cover, stat, and in saunters the hottest little room cleaner he ever did see.

While David needs a fake boyfriend, Fin needs a bailout.

After getting kicked out of his house as a teenager, Finley Sweet is finally back on his feet. He’s got a good job at Bliss Resort, but when a self-made millionaire offers him a mountain of cash to be his fake boyfriend for a week, Fin leaps at the chance to change everything and get his inheritance back from his evil stepfather.

What starts as a business transaction becomes so much more, but there’s a time limit to their love, and the contract runs out when David goes back to the mainland. Only it’s more than a contract holding them together, and everything they want is right there if they can read between the lines.

Universal Link

Goodreads

5

Continue reading “Release Blitz ~ Cinderella Proposal by Harley Grace (Exclusive Excerpt + Giveaway)”

Blog Tour ~ Raphael’s Power by Mary Rundle (Exclusive Excerpt + Excerpt + Giveaway)

Raphael's Power audio - Mary Rundle

Mary Rundle has a new MM paranormal shifter romance audiobook out: “Raphael’s Power.” And there’s a giveaway!

This is part of an ongoing series by Amazon best-selling author Mary Rundle and catching up on previous titles is advised. Listeners or readers of the past books will enjoy meeting old friends once more as the pack does what it does best – caring for one another and helping shifters everywhere.

Dr. Ian Wallace, a rare Scottish wolf, has dedicated his life to saving and healing wolf shifters by joining Frontline Doctors. Determined never to take a mate, he avoids relationships and is content to live a nomadic life, taking assignments to wild and remote places. That is, until an old friend asks him for a favor, which Ian’s wolf will not let him refuse. Now on his way to the Blackwood Pack compound, his wolf becomes frantic, and Ian learns not only that he has a fated mate, but that his fated mate is in danger.

Colton was forced to give up his dreams of becoming a nurse and joining Frontline Doctors when tragedy befell his family. Instead, he healed sick animals around his home while hiding from a pack who wanted him dead. Given the chance to use his skills, Colton seizes it and embarks on a journey that will reveal just how special he is.

A kidnapping, slave auction, revelations of long-kept family secrets, and a rare, powerful gift from the gods are some of the surprises in store for both of them until they finally find their way into each other’s hearts after discovering neither is who the other thought he was.

Amazon/Audible US | Amazon/Audible UK | Goodreads | QueeRomance Ink

Continue reading “Blog Tour ~ Raphael’s Power by Mary Rundle (Exclusive Excerpt + Excerpt + Giveaway)”

Blog Tour ~ Poisoned Primrose by Dahlia Donovan (Exclusive Excerpt + Giveaway)

Poisoned Primrose - Dahlia Donovan

Dahlia Donovan has a new MF bi/ace cozy mystery romance out: “Poisoned Primrose.”

Meet Motts and the quirky cast of characters in her world. Poisoned Primrose is a quintessential cosy British mystery and an all-round fun story to throw yourself into.

Autistic, asexual, and almost forty, Pineapple “Motts” Mottley flees London with her cat and turtle to a quaint cottage in Cornwall. She craves the peace of life in a small village. The dead body buried in her garden isn’t quite what she had in mind, though.

Unable to resist her curiosity, she falls directly into a mess of trouble and runs head-first into the attractive detective inspector, Teo Herceg. She tries to balance her business with the investigation, but as the killer focuses on her, staying alive becomes trickier than advanced origami.

Will Motts survive the onslaught of murderously bad luck?

Can she solve the mystery before it all spins out of control and off a cliff?

Publisher | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CAN | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | QueeRomance Ink | Smashwords | Goodreads

 

Continue reading “Blog Tour ~ Poisoned Primrose by Dahlia Donovan (Exclusive Excerpt + Giveaway)”

Blog Tour: The Stark Divide by J. Scott Coatsworth (Exclusive Excerpt + Giveaway)

The Stark Divide - J. Scott CoatsworthJ. Scott Coatsworth has a new queer sci fi book out book one in the Ariadne Cycle: “The Stark Divide.” This is a re-release.

Some stories are epic.

The Earth is in a state of collapse, with wars breaking out over resources and an environment pushed to the edge by human greed.

Three living generation ships have been built with a combination of genetic mastery, artificial intelligence, technology, and raw materials harvested from the asteroid belt. This is the story of one of them—43 Ariadne, or Forever, as her inhabitants call her—a living world that carries the remaining hopes of humanity, and the three generations of scientists, engineers, and explorers working to colonize her.

From her humble beginnings as a seedling saved from disaster to the start of her journey across the void of space toward a new home for the human race, The Stark Divide tells the tales of the world, the people who made her, and the few who will become something altogether beyond human.

Humankind has just taken its first step toward the stars.

Get It On Amazon

 

 

Continue reading “Blog Tour: The Stark Divide by J. Scott Coatsworth (Exclusive Excerpt + Giveaway)”

Release Blast ~ What’s in a Name? by Pat Henshaw (Exclusive Excerpt + Excerpt + Giveaway)

What's in a Name? - Pat Henshaw

Pat Henshaw has a new Contemporary MM romance out, book one in the Foothills pride series: “What’s In a Name?”

On his 30th birthday, barista Jimmy Patterson decides to get rip-roaring drunk after his roommate-boyfriend abandons him at a bar in the tiny California foothills town of Stone Acres where they have relocated from San Francisco. Jimmy is immediately rescued by the burly owner of Stonewall Saloon, who has had his eye on Jimmy since the first time he came in months before.

Jimmy’s fine with being saved but wants to know the bartender’s real name since the guy has worn name tags with an assortment of names every time Jimmy has spoken to him. After Jimmy nicknames him Guy, the bartender decides to turn guessing his first name into a game, giving Jimmy a guess a day for a week and promising to wine and dine him during that time. If Jimmy’s guess is wrong, he owes Guy a zing-zow, knock-your-socks-off kiss. Jimmy agrees since this sounds like a slam-dunk, win-win deal.

While he searches for cringe-worthy given names, Jimmy is distracted by the destruction of his shopping mall coffee shop. He is also beset by the town council that doesn’t want him to buy an historic bank building in Old Town Stone Acres to set up another coffee shop. The celestial high of being romanced by Guy and the abyss of business worries don’t seem like the road to happily ever after. However, Jimmy and Guy might be in for a big surprise.

About the Series:

After housing prices rose to unbelievable heights in the San Francisco metropolitan area at the turn of the current century, gay men headed for the Sierra Nevada foothills. The historic former mining town of Stone Acres with its gay sheriff seemed like the perfect place to settle. But the conservative white descendants of the early town fathers seem ready to fight back. Is a move East the solution the gay men are looking for?

JMS Books | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Amazon CAN | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | QueeRomance Ink

 

Continue reading “Release Blast ~ What’s in a Name? by Pat Henshaw (Exclusive Excerpt + Excerpt + Giveaway)”

Release Blitz: A Healing Story by Abrianna Denae (Series Review + Exclusive Excerpt)

Title: A Healing Story

Series: Stories, book 3
Author: Abrianna Denae
Get book 1 for .99¢ until July 12th: http://mybook.to/ALoveStory

Matthias Harthorn is drowning. For years he’s hidden his pain by hurting the one person who should have been able to rely on him—his younger brother, Jameson. Years of guilt, regret, and confusion build up until he’s barely able to get through the day sober.

Then one night a handsome stranger comes along and offers him a reprieve from it all. Making him question everything he thought he knew.

Neil Denning is the last man Matthias should be spending time with. Not only do his dark, piercing eyes see things that they shouldn’t—things that no one has before—but his connection to Jameson makes their budding friendship all the more off-limits. Yet no matter what the excuse, Neil doesn’t let Matthias get away with anything, forcing him to address his problems. Soon its not just Neil’s calm and matter of fact attitude that has Matthias ensnared.

With every touch and laugh shared together they grow closer. Until the door to Matthias’ ugly past swings back open, forcing him to deal with emotions and memories long since buried, in order to finally be happy. But the path that leads to healing will force Matthias to be honest with not only himself and Neil, but also the brother he so callously threw away. He’ll need to choose between letting go and living open or lose everything he’s come to care about.

*Though this book can stand alone, the author suggests that book 1, A Love Story be read first for better enjoyment.*

 

Continue reading “Release Blitz: A Healing Story by Abrianna Denae (Series Review + Exclusive Excerpt)”

Book Reveal: A Vigil in the Mourning (Soulbound IV) by Hailey Turner (Exclusive Excerpt Reveal)

A Vigil in the Mourning by Hailey Turner

Series:  Soulbound IV

Publisher: Self-Published

Release Date (Print & Ebook): April 6, 2020

Length (Print & Ebook): 102,951

Subgenre: LGBTQ Urban Fantasy

Warnings: None

All buy links or pre-order links: 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0852P8F13/

Author Site: https://haileyturner.com/book/a-vigil-in-the-mourning

 

About A Vigil in the Mourning:

The devil you know is never the one you should trust.

Special Agent Patrick Collins is dispatched to Chicago, chasing a lead on the Morrígan’s staff for the joint task force. Needing a cover for his presence in the Windy City, Patrick is ordered to investigate a politician running for mayor. In the lead up to election day, not everything is what it seems in a city where playing to win means appeasing the gods first and the electorate second.

But Chicago brings its own set of problems outside the case: a stand-offish local god pack, a missing immortal, and Patrick’s twin sister. Fighting Hannah and the Dominion Sect provides Patrick with a sinister reminder that some blood ties can never be cut.

Left behind in New York City, Jonothon de Vere finds himself targeted by hunters who will go through anyone to kill him—including the packs under his protection. With a bounty on his head, Jono is forced to make a choice that Patrick would never approve of. Doing so risks breaking the trust he’s built with the man he loves, but not acting will give the rival New York City god pack leverage Jono can’t afford to give up.

When Patrick and Jono reunite in Chicago, Patrick must confront the fraying of a relationship he’s come to rely on for his own sanity. But fixing their personal problems will have to wait—because Niflheim is clawing at the shores of Lake Michigan and the dead are hungry.

A Vigil in the Mourning is a 102k word m/m urban fantasy with a gay romantic subplot and a HFN ending. It is a direct sequel to A Crown of Iron & Silver. Reading the first book in the series would be helpful in enjoying this one.

Continue reading “Book Reveal: A Vigil in the Mourning (Soulbound IV) by Hailey Turner (Exclusive Excerpt Reveal)”

Blog Tour: Wrangling a Groom (Marital Bliss #2) by DJ Jamison (Exclusive Excerpt + Giveaway)

Exclusive Excerpt

This comes from the prologue of Wrangling a Groom, when Wyatt and Diego first establish their wedding pact.

***

Two six-year-old boys sat in a tree together, very much not k-i-s-s-i-n-g. Not like Grandad, who was kissing that horrible Ms. Fletcher beneath the sprawling oak’s branches. Grandad was going to marry her, and then she’d be Wyatt’s grandmother, and she didn’t like kids or horses or anything about ranching. It didn’t make any sense at all, but Wyatt overheard Mama saying that men lost all good sense around a pretty face.

Wyatt looked over at Diego. He wasn’t a girl, but his face was pretty — and he didn’t make Wyatt do stupid things.

“Is Grandad really going to marry her?” Diego asked.

Grandad was really Wyatt’s grandfather, but all the kids around the ranch called him that. Diego’s father was a foreman on the crew, and Grandad said he was the kind of man you could count on to get things done. Wyatt and Diego had been best friends since they could crawl.

“Dunno,” Wyatt said. “Think maybe we should get married?”

Diego’s eyes widened to a comical degree. “Us? But we’re boys.”

“So?” Wyatt said. “At least you’re not horrible. If we make a pact to get married when we’re older, then we won’t have to worry about some awful pretty face coming around.”

“I guess.” Diego sounded skeptical.

“Come on, let’s make a pact. It’ll be fun!”

Wyatt scrambled down the tree, and Diego followed him, just like he always did. They ran past the smooching couple, Ms. Fletcher exclaiming about rude little boys as they flew past. Laughing, Diego shouted, “Race ya to the barn!”

Dust kicked up under their feet as they poured on speed. Wyatt skidded around a corner, Diego on his heels, and they both raced for the spot behind the barn where they hid out to avoid notice and the chores that always seemed needing done.

Diego was gaining on him, and Wyatt threw out an arm to block him. They went down in a tumble, skidding into the building.

“You made me fall,” Diego accused sharply, eyes glassy. “I’m bleeding, see?”

He pointed to his knee, scraped and oozing a hint of blood. Wyatt checked himself over, but he was in one piece. Continue reading “Blog Tour: Wrangling a Groom (Marital Bliss #2) by DJ Jamison (Exclusive Excerpt + Giveaway)”

Blog Tour ~ Into The Deep by Amara Lynn (Review + Exclusive Excerpt + Giveaway)

 

Exclusive Excerpt

There were no rations aboard the small boat, no sails, not even rows. It was just a plain old little dinghy. Lamark was surely doomed to perish out in the middle of the ocean. The only question was whether he would starve or be shark food.

His absolute failure as a pirate loomed over him like a storm cloud.

He couldn’t swashbuckle, pillage, or plunder. Swabbing the decks, one of the simplest tasks, caused him regular injuries. He couldn’t snarf grog like a regular pirate, unless he wanted to accidentally hurt himself or others.

He couldn’t even swim.

Ramey was right. Lamark really was the Failure Phalen, the most clumsy and mocked pirate on the seas.

That’s how Lamark would be known, were his name to appear in any recountings at all, which he knew was unlikely. No one would remember the clumsy, useless, lowly Lamark.

Letting out a heavy breath, Lamark leaned back in the boat, resting his hands behind his head and pulling his hat over his eyes to keep the sun out of them. He was jolted from his doze when the boat jostled. He yipped and sat up quickly, only to find the dinghy had hit a solitary rock in the ocean. No land around.

When Lamark turned to survey the damage to the dinghy, praying there were no leaks, he gasped at the sight of a person restrained in some netting caught on the rocks.

Wait… Was that a man? He had a shimmering green tail in place of where his legs ought to be.

A merman?

Merpeople were just old sailor’s tales, stories told to young naive sailors and children. Or so Lamark had always thought.

Yet here he was staring right at a merman in the flesh—and fins.

Bits of his hair were matted against his face, partially dry from being above water for so long. His deep, sea blue eyes were wide with fright, and his chest rose up and down at an alarming rate. He was scared to death, the poor mate.

How did he even get into this mess, caught up in these nets and out here all alone?

Lamark pulled his dagger from his belt, and the merman’s pants grew more panicked. He wriggled desperately in the nets, trying to get free. Continue reading “Blog Tour ~ Into The Deep by Amara Lynn (Review + Exclusive Excerpt + Giveaway)”

Blog Tour: Digging Deep by Jay Hogan (Exclusive Excerpt + Giveaway)

Exclusive Excerpt

“So, tell me about this condition of yours. You said it’s Crohn’s, right?” I mentally ducked knowing this was sensitive ground, but I wanted to understand.

A deep-edged frown chased any hint of that earlier smile from his face and he looked… frankly, pissed. Good.

“Why?” He glared, all those prickly defences locking into position, and I could almost feel the chill settle between us.

I shrugged. “If I’m gonna be shafted because of some disease, I think I at least deserve to know what I’m up against.”

He laughed derisively. “No, you really don’t want to know, and I mean really don’t.”

It was my turn to get pissy. “Why? Think I can’t handle it?”

He snorted and pushed his chair back, eyes black with annoyance.

Oops. Too far.

He side-eyed me with annoyance. “I knew this was a bad idea. Not everything is about you, Caleb. It’s not about what you can handle or not. To be honest, what you can or can’t handle means fuck all to me, and there’s nothing between us that says I have to hang out all my private health shit for you to peruse and pass judgement on, thank you very much.” He made a grab for his jacket.

Shit, shit, shit. Way to screw that up completely. “Whoa. Hey, I’m sorry.” I stood and almost placed a hand on his arm before an icy glare warned me off. I raised both hands instead. “Just don’t storm off, okay. I wasn’t thinking.”

“No kidding.”

“Okay, I deserved that, but we’ve already established I’m an arsehole, right? So maybe a little leeway while I learn to not be such a fucking tool? Please?”

He didn’t immediately leave, but standing there staring at me with a “Why should I even fucking bother with you?” look in his eye, wasn’t precisely a win in my books either. But exactly how much I cared about what his answer was gonna be was an eye-opener. Carmen’s smirk made an unwelcome appearance in my thoughts, and yeah, I wasn’t going to be in a hurry to share this little nugget with her.

Having drawn enough curious looks from café patrons, twitching their beards in curiosity, I chose to sit and wait Drake out, pushing his chair toward him with my foot in some kind of silent offering. He stared at it for a minute, huffed, and then dropped back down with a little more force than I felt was strictly warranted. Not that I was gonna say anything. I’m stupid, not suicidal.

“It was a dick thing to say,” I said.

Drake raised a brow. “Which part?”

I grinned. “All of it, I’m guessing?”

He snorted and shifted his gaze out the window. “It’s a sensitive subject, in case you hadn’t noticed.”

No kidding. “I can see that. In my defence, I wasn’t just being nosey.”

He glanced back, clearly unconvinced, but took his kombucha in hand once again, which I hoped meant I had a minute or two at least to convince him.

“I wasn’t. Look, it’s no secret that I like you. And I think maybe, just maybe, you like me too.”

His expression remained impassive. “And you think this, why?”

“Well for starters we’re here, aren’t we? Surprised the shit out of me. I mean, let’s face it. You’re a bit… ah, spiky…”

He cocked an amused brow. “Spiky?”

Nah, I wasn’t gonna touch that. “… and you could’ve apologised over the phone. You didn’t have to do the whole coffee thing.” I waited, but he just sat there looking flinty and gorgeous. Fucker. He was gonna make me do this the hard way. Well, okay, then. “Just don’t hit me for a minute, okay?”

“No promises.” He took a mouthful of his drink.

“You say you don’t date much,” I continued. “And then you tack on ‘obviously’ like I should just understand that. Well, I don’t. I get that you have this—” I waved my hand around. “—condition? That you need to be up close and personal with bathrooms on a regular basis….”

An almost grin cracked his face before he swallowed it quickly, but I’d seen the chink.

I continued. “I genuinely want to understand.” The simple truth of that surprised even me. “If you don’t want to explain, then fine, we’ll go our separate ways, though I personally think that’d be a shame. Why not educate me? I promise to keep my dickheadishness to a minimum.”

This time I did get a smile and I felt like I’d won the fucking lottery.

He pushed his coffee cup aside, leaned back in his chair, and eyeballed me. “You’re an odd one, Caleb Ashton.”

I grinned. “That has to be a step up from a dickhead, right?”

“A smidgeon.”

My grin widened. “A smidgeon, huh? I’ll take that.”

He laughed and ran his gaze slowly over my face. My cheeks heated under the scrutiny, but I didn’t move a muscle.

He leaned forward to rest on his elbows. “First you tell me what you know about Crohn’s disease.” There was a decided edge to his voice. “You must have looked it up… if you’re as interested as you say you are.” He leaned back again, arms crossed.

If I wasn’t being tested, I’d eat my fucking hat.

“Wow. Tough crowd,” I half joked. “Did I look it up? Yes. But when I started reading, I realised I’d prefer you told me. It read like it’s different things to different people and the websites mostly just give worst-case scenarios.”

“How do you know that’s not me? A worst-case scenario?”

I held his eye. “I don’t. But I figure I’d rather hear that from the horse’s mouth so to speak. It didn’t put me off, if that’s what you’re thinking. I’m here, aren’t I?”

He considered that for a minute. “But you read something. So, CliffsNotes?”

“Is this a quiz?” I tried to joke.

He didn’t answer.

Fail.

I sighed. “Fine. Crohn’s disease. Cause, unknown for certain but there are the usual suspects: genetics, autoimmune responses going haywire, and environmental stuff like infections and such.” I paused.

He nodded. “Go on.”

Really? I thought that was a pretty good effort from memory, and I was about done jumping through his hoops to be honest. “It fucks with your bowel and you have to shit a lot. Satisfied?” I sat back and threw my hands up in the air.

For a second he just stared at me, and I thought for sure I’d blown it. “Shall I just leave now and save you the bother of dropping my arse?”

Butterflies rallied in my stomach as Drake seemed to give the option genuine consideration for more than a few seconds. Then his face cracked into a wide grin and he laughed, loudly. It was the sweetest goddamn sound, and I couldn’t help but join in. After a minute he drew breath and wiped his sleeve across his eyes.

“Well, fuck me, Caleb.” He was still chuckling.

I cleared my throat and took a moment. Go big or go home, right? “If I were ever lucky enough to have that opportunity—” I eyed him pointedly. “—I do understand that it may not be as straightforward as I might be used to.”

Continue reading “Blog Tour: Digging Deep by Jay Hogan (Exclusive Excerpt + Giveaway)”