Andrew Grey on the Top 5 Type of Romance he Likes to Write and his new novel Fire and Agate (Carlisle Deputies #3) (guest post and excerpt)

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Title: Fire and Agate

Author: Andrew Grey

Series: Carlisle Deputies #3

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Release Date: Nov 6 2018
Cover Artist: Kanaxa

Book Links

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Dreamspinner Press

Edition/Formats Available In: eBook & Print

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Andrew Grey here today.  Andrew is on tour for the next story in his Carlisle Deputies series, Fire and Agate.. Welcome, Andrew.

✒︎

I wanted to have some fun, so I thought a top 5 post would be in order.  Here are my Top 5 favorite types of romances to write.  I must say that I read and write a wide range of characters, but these are some of my favorites in no particular order.
Andrew Grey’s Top 5 Favorite Types of Romances to Write
1)  Cops – given the title that we’re celebrating, that’s probably a no brainer.
2)  Firemen – Hunky guys in fire pants sometimes sleeping in the same room together.
3)  Rural – I spent part of my childhood in the country, so I know first hand those boys know a lot about the birds and the bees.
4)  Cowboys – They’re iconic and can be stunning, cantankerous, and a lot of fun to write.
5)  Discovering love – There’s something that feeds the soul about writing a character that is really just discovering that they are worthy of being loved.

 

Blurb/Synopsis:

When Chris Anducci is moved off jail duty and into the sheriff’s office, he doesn’t expect his first assignment to be protecting a witness against a human trafficking ring. Knowing the new sheriff doesn’t abide screw-ups, Chris reluctantly agrees to work the case.

Pavle Kasun has spent the last four years of his life at the mercy of others. When an opportunity presented itself, he took it, resulting in his rescue. Now the safe houses he’s placed in are being threatened and he needs protection if he is to have any sort of chance at a life.

Chris opens his home to Pavle, but he doesn’t expect Pavle and his story to get under his skin… and stay there. Soon they discover they have more in common than either of them thought. Slowly Pavle comes out of his shell and Chris finds someone who touches his heart. But as the men looking for Pavle close in, they will stop at nothing to get him out of the way. But even if Chris can keep him safe, he might not be able to protect his heart if Pavle moves back home.

Genre:M/M Contemporary Romance/Law Enforcement

Excerpt 

Slowly a figure, curled up and small, made an appearance from around the side of the dresser. The first thing Chris noticed were the biggest, brownest eyes he had ever seen, filled with the pain of years of hurt. They blinked, and then Pavle stepped farther into the light. Even standing, he looked half hunched over.

“This is Deputy Chris. He’s here because he’s going to help keep you safe.”

Pavle raised his head slightly, his black hair, long and uneven, falling to the sides of his face.

“Hello,” Chris said, mimicking the soft tone the others had used. “I’m Chris. They told me you needed help, so I’m going to protect you so no one hurts you anymore.” In that moment, he made up his mind to do whatever was needed to help this man, and if that meant moving him into his home to protect him, so be it.

“I’d like it if you went with Deputy Chris. He is a good man and will not hurt you,” Marie explained slowly and gently.

Chris didn’t expect Pavle to believe her or to agree to come. “It’s okay if you don’t want to,” Chris said, crouching down so he was at the same level as Pavle. “This is your choice.”

“Choice?” Pavle asked in a raspy voice that tore at Chris’s insides, looking at him and then back to Marie.

“Yes. You can choose to stay here or go with Deputy Chris. We want you to be safe, but we aren’t sure how well we can protect you here. If you go with Deputy Chris, he will protect you. Keep you safe.”

“INS?” Pavle asked.

“No. He is good man. Caring. He will help you.” Marie seemed to have infinite patience.

Pavle blinked, standing still, then nodded and walked to Chris. It seemed as though he either didn’t understand or thought he didn’t have a choice, even though he was being given one. Chris held out his hands, palms up, to show that he wasn’t going to hit him. When Pavle looked at him with those huge eyes and the face of an angel, he looked much younger than the twenty-four listed in his file. Maybe that was his previous owner’s fetish. Still, after all he’d been through, Pavle’s handsomeness and light shone through, with soft features and an almost delicate frame.

“I’ll gather his few things,” Annette said.

Marie extended her hand to take Pavle’s gently. He went with her in silence. She led him out of the house, and once they were in the sun, Chris got a better look at him. Pavle was pale, probably from years of being inside. Chris reminded himself to ask Marie about any past injuries. He suspected that Pavle had been treated very badly in the past and he needed to know if he was okay physically.

“Thank you for doing this,” Marie said once she had opened the door to Chris’s car and gotten Pavle settled in the passenger seat. He sat without moving or looking to either side. “You have to keep him safe. He is the main witness against the man who held him for nearly two years. We need to get that man and then trace back to the people who sold Pavle to him. We’re pulling each thread to see what we can unravel.”

“Okay. I will do my best, I promise you.”

“I’ll follow you to your house and help Pavle get settled.”

As Marie got to her car, Pavle reacted for the first time.

“She’s just riding separately. She will be back in a few minutes.”

Chris drove the short distance to his house and pulled into the garage. He didn’t want Pavle to be seen, and yet he also didn’t want him to feel like a prisoner again by being hidden. He got out and waited, hoping Pavle would get out on his own. After a few moments, Pavle opened the door and climbed out of the car. Chris opened the door to the yard and motioned for Pavle to go ahead of him.

Marie came though behind him, and Chris closed the garage doors and joined the two of them in the yard. Pavle looked around, saying nothing. Chris wished he would say something… anything. He was way too quiet, and that worried Chris because he had no idea what he was thinking, and damn it all, those eyes still held buckets of fear.

“It’s okay. This is where you are going to stay.” Marie gently coaxed Pavle toward the house, and he shuffled along, looking at the yard. Hopefully he liked what he saw. Chris had spent too many hours working out stress for the garden to be unappreciated.

Chris opened the back door, went inside, and turned on lights, letting Marie bring Pavle in the kitchen, motioning toward the living room. Maybe this was the biggest mistake of his life. He wasn’t equipped to handle someone as fragile and frightened as Pavle. Chris had no clue what he needed or even how to get through to him.

“I sold?” Pavle finally asked barely above a whisper.

Chris caught Marie’s gaze, and his heart twisted in his chest. God, this was going to wrench his guts six ways from Sunday.

“No. This is where you are going to live. You are not going to be sold to anyone any more. Deputy Chris is here to help you and nothing more.” She patted his hand and took Pavle through to the other room.

Chris got three glasses of water and put some cookies on a plate. He needed some sugar if he was going to get through this in one piece.

Marie and Pavle were talking softly on the sofa when Chris handed each of them a glass and offered them cookies. Marie took one, and Pavle stared at the plate as though it were a foreign object. Finally, he took one and ate a small bite before shoving the whole thing in his mouth, chewing and swallowing like he hadn’t eaten in days, then he drank the entire glass of water.

Chris offered him another, and Pavle took it in disbelief, ate it quickly, and then rested his hands in his lap.

About the Author

Andrew grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works in information systems for a large corporation.

Andrew’s hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing)He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful, historic Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Author Links

Amazon Author Page

Barnes and Noble Page

Dreamspinner Press

Facebook

Facebook Group All the Way with Andrew Grey

Goodreads

Twitter@andrewgreybooks

Website

For Other Works by Andrew Grey

(Please Be Sure To Stop by His Website to See All of His Works)

Cover Reveal for Unfamiliar Waters by Andrew Grey

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Title: Unfamiliar Waters

Author: Andrew Grey

Release Date: January 8, 2019

Category: Contemporary

Pages: 200

Cover Artist: Kanaxa

 Buy Links:  Dreamspinner Press eBook and  Paperback
Blurb:
With the pressures of the job bearing down on him, police officer Garrett Wreckley needs a vacation—in fact, he isn’t given a choice in the matter. Since the water has always soothed Garrett’s soul, he heads to the Caribbean, hoping some time alone sailing on the open water will help him pull himself together.
But even though he’s taking a break from law enforcement, Garrett can’t get rid of his cop’s instinct so easily.
He meets Nigel, a young man as innocent as he is beautiful, who grew up sheltered from the world, exploring the beaches and tropical forests with only the company of his aunt, his brother, and the wildlife and sea creatures he befriended.
As sweet, passionate love blooms, their time in paradise feels too good to be true… and Garrett’s gut and training tell him that might be the case. As he investigates, he quickly realizes everything is not as it seems. Will his snooping destroy not only their romance, but everything Nigel believes about his life?
About the Author
Andrew Grey is the author of more than one hundred works of Contemporary Gay Romantic fiction. After twenty-seven years in corporate America, he has now settled down in Central Pennsylvania with his husband, Dominic, and his laptop. An interesting ménage. Andrew grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world. He is a recipient of the RWA Centennial Award, has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, and now writes full-time. Andrew’s hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing). He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful, historic Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

RBTL Blog Tour for Heart Untouched (Hearts Entwined #3) by Andrew Grey (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Heart Untouched
Author: Andrew Grey
Series: Hearts Entwined Book 3
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance
Publisher: DreamSpinner Press
Release Date: Oct 9 2018
Edition/Format: 1st Edition/Format ~ eBook & Print

Blurb/Synopsis:
A Hearts Entwined Novel
An accident crushed Duncan’s Olympic dreams and landed him in a chair, but he knows it’s time to get his life back on track—and he has a plan in mind. Working with his friend Todd, an Olympic skeleton racer, on a promotional campaign will not only help Duncan regain some direction, but it’ll give Todd the financial boost he desperately needs. The sport Todd loves is draining his resources—so much so that he’s thinking of giving up racing just to make ends meet.
As the two men work together, their friendship blossoms into much more, and suddenly the future is looking brighter than it has in a long time. But just when love, happiness, and success seem within their grasp, the USOC steps in with plans to stop their campaign. That’ll mean an end not just to Duncan’s business, but to Todd’s dreams… and Duncan isn’t about to let that happen to the man who means everything to him.

In Our Hot New Contemporary Romance Spotlight is Fire and Ice (Carlisle Deputies #1) by Andrew Grey (giveaway)

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Title: Fire and Flint
Author: Andrew Grey
Series: Carlisle Deputies #1
Genre:  M/M
Contemporary Romance
Release Date: Dec 8 2017
Edition/Formats Available In: eBook & Print

 

Blurb/Synopsis:
Jordan Erichsohn suspects something is rotten about his boss, Judge Crawford. Unfortunately he has nowhere to turn and doubts anyone will believe his claims—least of all the handsome deputy, Pierre Ravelle, who has been assigned to protect the judge receiving the threatening letters. The judge has a long reach, and if he finds out Jordan’s turned on him, he might impede Jordan adopting his son, Jeremiah.
When Jordan can no longer stay silent, he gathers his courage and tells Pierre what he knows. To his surprise and relief, Pierre believes him, and Jordan finds an ally… and maybe more. Pierre vows to do what it takes to protect Jordan and Jeremiah and see justice done. He’s willing to fight for the man he’s growing to love and the family he’s starting to think of as his own. But Crawford is a powerful and dangerous enemy, and he’s not above ripping apart everything Jordan and Pierre are trying to build in order to save himself….
Will their fledgling romance dissipate like fog in the sun before it has a chance to burn bright?

Andrew Grey, Writing Stories with Children and his release Fire and Flint (Carlisle Deputies #1) (guest post and except)

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Fire and Flint (Carlisle Deputies #1) by Andrew Grey

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: Dec 8 2017

Cover Art by L.C. Chase

Available for Purchase at Dreamspinner Press

 

 

 

I get asked quite a bit why I write stories with children in them and that used to be a difficult question to answer because that question goes to the heart of something deeply important to me.  First, I believe that gay couples should have the same rights and opportunities as other couples and that means raising children.  For gay couples there are more steps involved because they cannot have children on their own, adoption, surrogacy, etc.  But I believe it important to show that anything is possible and that a couple, or individual who wishes to have children, can do so and that they can build a family of their own.  Secondly, Dominic and I elected early on in our relationship not to have children.  Dominic was the youngest in his family and was never around children younger than him.  Even today, small babies make him nervous.  We once had a party where three couples brought young babies and the only person at the party who didn’t take a turn holding any of the babies was Dominic.  I swear he’d have hidden in the basement of he could.  So Dominic and I chose not to have children.  I’m not saying that I regret that decision or that I resent Dominic for it, but having children is one thing I think I missed out on in my life.    I don’t regret it because I have Dominic and he takes care of me and loves me the way no one else ever has.  But sometimes I think what life would be like if he and I had raised children.  When that happens, I usually end up writing a story with children.

Blurb/Synopsis:

Jordan Erichsohn suspects something is rotten about his boss, Judge Crawford. Unfortunately he has nowhere to turn and doubts anyone will believe his claims—least of all the handsome deputy, Pierre Ravelle, who has been assigned to protect the judge receiving the threatening letters. The judge has a long reach, and if he finds out Jordan’s turned on him, he might impede Jordan adopting his son, Jeremiah.

When Jordan can no longer stay silent, he gathers his courage and tells Pierre what he knows. To his surprise and relief, Pierre believes him, and Jordan finds an ally… and maybe more. Pierre vows to do what it takes to protect Jordan and Jeremiah and see justice done. He’s willing to fight for the man he’s growing to love and the family he’s starting to think of as his own. But Crawford is a powerful and dangerous enemy, and he’s not above ripping apart everything Jordan and Pierre are trying to build in order to save himself….

Will their fledgling romance dissipate like fog in the sun before it has a chance to burn bright?

Excerpt

 

Terry stood and walked to his end of the table. “I hear you got assigned to one of the judges at the courthouse.” He slipped into the empty seat near Pierre.

“Man, word travels fast,” he said a little loudly. He wasn’t angry, but his law enforcement colleagues gossiped like old biddies.

“Tell me about it,” Terry agreed. “It’s a good thing these guys don’t work for national security.” He grinned and looked up for a second, waving to someone who passed.

Pierre followed his gaze and smiled at the familiar face. “Do you know him?”

“Sure. That’s Jordan. He works at the courthouse. He’s a member at the Y, and I see him and his son coming in a few times a week. Jeremiah is four and he loves the water. I’ve given him a few swimming lessons, and Jordan says he’s signing him up for regular swim class.” Terry waved again, and Jordan came over.

“Hey,” Jordan said with a touch of surprise in his voice.

“You know each other?” Terry asked.

“I work for Judge Crawford now,” Jordan said, “and I’m working with Pierre because of the threats the judge has received.” He turned to Pierre. “You should have said you were coming here.”

“I didn’t know until a little while ago.” Pierre caught the attention of the server and ordered a beer. He turned back to Jordan but didn’t know what to say. He wasn’t interested in talking about work, and they didn’t know each other well enough to talk about other things. Pierre also figured it didn’t help that he found himself staring into Jordan’s eyes, forgetting about most everything else. He blinked a few times to pull himself back to the present. Damn, distraction and near blubbering idiot were quickly becoming the norm for him when he was around Jordan. That was going to make his job even harder. He needed to get over this fast.

“Where’s Jeremiah?” Terry asked, to Pierre’s eternal gratitude.

“He’s with my mom and dad. They asked to take him for a few hours, and I needed a night out that didn’t involve chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese, yogurt, and spilled milk.” Jordan grinned. “I’m here with Brad and Ricky. They go to the club too. We’ve been meaning to go out for a while, but with Jeremiah, it hasn’t been possible.” Jordan glanced toward the other table, then turned back to them. “I should get back. But I’ll see you at the club. And Pierre, I’ll see you in the morning.” He flashed a smile that showed a touch of perfect teeth and once again short-circuited Pierre’s brain.

“Earth to Pierre,” Terry said, standing up. “Geez, you are really gone.”

“Sorry.” Pierre blinked and shook his head as Jordan sat down. “So, a kid, huh? Is he married?” Just his luck he’d be perving on a straight guy.

About the Author

Andrew grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works in information systems for a large corporation.

Andrew’s hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing)  He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful, historic Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Author Links

Amazon Author Page

Barnes and Noble Page

Dreamspinner Press

Facebook

Facebook Group All the Way with Andrew Grey

Goodreads

Twitter @andrewgreybooks

Website

For Other Works by Andrew Grey

(Please Be Sure To Stop by His Website to See All of His Works)

Andrew Grey on Writing Characters and his latest release ‘Heart Unheard (Hearts Entwined #2)’ (author guest blog)

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Heart Unheard (Hearts Entwined #2) by Andrew Grey
Dreamspinner Press
Cover artist: L.C. Chase

Available for Purchase at Dreamspinner Press

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Andrew Grey here today talking about the challenges of writing a hearing impaired character.  Welcome, Andrew.

 

 ~ Andrew Grey on One of the Challenges of Writing a Hearing Impaired Character ~

There are so many things I want to say about this story.  When I decided to write a deaf characters I expected a number of challenges, but the hardest one wasn’t what I had anticipated.  What I needed to do after Scott’s injury, was develop an entire communication system for him.  He didn’t have a way for people to communicate with him other than through the written word.  I found that stifling and it made me realize just how difficult the hearing impaired have when interacting with the world around them.  I grew up with an aunt who was very hard of hearing.  Most people she barely understood, but the tone of my voice was able to get through to her.  But it took extra effort on my part to make sure she understood what I was saying.  It was that same kind of effort that I had to put into the story to build Scott’s methods of communicating.  The whole process helped me better understand just how hearing loss can cut a person off from the rest of the world and how a little extra effort and care can make all the difference.

Blurb/Synopsis

The attraction between Brent Berkheimer and Scott Spearman peels the wallpaper, but Brent is Scott’s boss, and they’re both too professional to go beyond flirting. Their priorities realign after Scott is badly injured in an accident that costs him his hearing, and Brent realizes what is truly important… he wants Scott.

Scott first pushes Brent away, fearing a new romance will just add to his problems, but perhaps he will find unexpected strength and solace in Brent’s support as he struggles to communicate with the world in a new way.

Just as they decide the chance of a happy future together is worth the risk, Scott and Brent discover darker challenges in their way—including evidence that the “accident” Scott suffered may not have been so accidental.

Excerpt

Scott was in a small room, the bed surrounded by monitors with a number of tubes and cords hooked to him. His usually robust cheeks were sallow, his normally intense eyes closed, his pouty lips pale.

“Please remain quiet.”

“Of course,” Brent said as he pulled forward the small chair and sat next to the bed. He didn’t ask her a bunch of questions about how he was doing because Brent knew she couldn’t really tell him anything without specific written permission.

The nurse checked Scott over and left the room.

“Hey, Scott. It’s Brent. I wanted to stop by and see you.” He blinked as Scott’s chest slowly rose and fell. “I read somewhere that people can sometimes hear things when they’re out like this. So I hope you get better.” He turned to make sure no one was around to hear him, then leaned closer. “I should have told you how I felt.” He sniffed and took one of the tissues from the box on the tray table. He reached for Scott’s hand and slid their fingers together. Brent probably didn’t have a right to do that, but he wanted Scott to know he was there.

To his surprise, Scott’s fingers squeezed his just a little. At first, he wasn’t sure it was real, but Scott did it again. Brent gently rubbed the back of his hand but received no further movement in response.

“Are you Brent?” a man who had to be Scott’s dad asked. He looked so much like him, only an older, more weathered, and very worried version, with touches of gray in his hair.

“Yes,” Brent whispered, setting Scott’s hand back on the blankets, his cheeks heating. “I was just trying to make a connection with him. I think he might have squeezed my hand a little.” He wondered what Scott’s dad—and then his mom as she followed him inside—must be thinking with him holding Scott’s hand.

“He did that last night before we left. It’s the only indication that we’ve had that he’s there and knows we’re here.” Scott’s mother approached, and Brent stood to give her the chair. She sat, gently stroking Scott’s hand. “Is there something between you and my son?” She lifted her gaze, and it was like she was looking deep into his soul. It was immediately evident where Scott got his amazing eyes, even if hers were red and definitely filled with concern. “I heard what you were saying to him before we came in.”

“Don’t mind Carolyn. She has bat-like hearing sometimes.” Reggie stepped to the other side of the bed, looking at Scott. If Brent were to hazard a guess, Reggie was willing his son to wake up. The worry and sheer willpower were written on the lines of his furrowed brow.

“Reggie,” she said gently, then turned to Brent. “Scott talked about you all the time. I think he may have a crush on you.” She looked him over. “I can see why, but aren’t you a little old for him?”

Brent nodded. “That’s why nothing ever happened.” He turned back to Scott, not believing he was having this conversation. “I’m his manager and….” There were so many reasons why he’d never said anything to Scott, though all of them seemed too stupid now. Scott lay on the bed, largely unmoving, and none of Brent’s reasons mattered. All that did matter was that Scott would recover and get better again.

“I see,” she said, as though there were some great meaning behind Brent’s words. “He told me about the time the oil gun sprang a leak and he got sprayed. You got the oil shut off and him out of there and cleaned off so fast, before it could get in his eyes.”

“He told you that?” Brent closed his eyes, stifling a groan, as his cheeks had to be turning beet red. He’d cleaned Scott off and had damn near kissed him just because he was relieved Scott was all right. Just as he’d gotten close, Scott had opened his eyes and their gazes had met, but Brent had backed away. His cowardice had taken over the way it usually did.

Carolyn nodded. “He said you were gentle and made sure he was okay before everything else. Then you apparently took apart the equipment, fixed it, and made sure that didn’t happen again.” She smiled. “Scott tells us stories about work all the time, and many of them featured you.”

What was he supposed to say to that? Brent wanted to hide and lick his wounds somewhere. It seemed that the teasing and flirting Scott had done was more than just playing. Brent had never been sure, but now he knew. Scott had cared and might have been truly interested, but now it might be too late.

“That’s so nice to know.” Brent couldn’t help looking at Scott and wondering what might have been if he had just had the guts.

 

 

About the Author

Andrew grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works in information systems for a large corporation.

Andrew’s hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing)  He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful, historic Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Author Links

Amazon Author Page

Barnes and Noble Page

Dreamspinner Press

Facebook

Facebook Group All the Way with Andrew Grey

Goodreads

Twitter @andrewgreybooks

Website

For Other Works by Andrew Grey

(Please Be Sure To Stop by His Website to See All of His Works)

The Titles Below Are for the Heart Unseen Novels Only

Links go to Amazon

Heart Unseen Book 1

Heart Unheard Book 2

Love Contemporary Romance? Check Out Heart Unheard (Heart Unseen #2) by Andrew Grey (Guest Post & Exclusive Excerpt)

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Heart Unheard (Heart Unseen #2) by Andrew Grey
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: Nov 17 2017
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase

Book Links
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Dreamspinner Press

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host  Andrew Grey today on his Heart Unheard tour.  Welcome, Andrew.

 

Blurb/Synopsis:

The attraction between Brent Berkheimer and Scott Spearman peels the wallpaper, but Brent is Scott’s boss, and they’re both too professional to go beyond flirting. Their priorities realign after Scott is badly injured in an accident that costs him his hearing, and Brent realizes what is truly important… he wants Scott.

Scott first pushes Brent away, fearing a new romance will just add to his problems, but perhaps he will find unexpected strength and solace in Brent’s support as he struggles to communicate with the world in a new way.

Just as they decide the chance of a happy future together is worth the risk, Scott and Brent discover darker challenges in their way—including evidence that the “accident” Scott suffered may not have been so accidental.

.

 

Excerpt

“Is that what you did?” Dean ruffled his hair like Brent was a kid. “Come on. He worked for you, so you wanted to keep things professional.”

“Fuck that. I thought… think about him all the damn time. I was too afraid to say something in case he turned me down. I’m ten years older than him, and I figured, what the hell would he want me for anyway?” Brent set his glass aside. Suddenly getting drunk and trying to forget everything didn’t hold any appeal. “I’m mooning over a guy who was out of my league. We flirted and had fun with each other, but that was all it was. I was… am Scott’s boss, and that’s the end of it.” He huffed. “The rest is me being an idiot.”

Dean downed his whiskey and poured some more. “If you’re so sure about that, you wouldn’t be acting this way.” He could be so observant every now and then. “You like him, and somehow you developed feelings for him.”

Brent jumped to his feet, waving a hand. “Okay, I did. But none of that matters, and I need to get over this… infatuation. He’s in surgery right now, and he isn’t going to want me when… if he gets better.” He began pacing the room. “I’m acting like a teenager. I need to stop.” His head was going in a million directions, and he desperately needed it to settle on something, anything.

Dean set his glass on the coffee table. “Fuck it all. You know I was pissed and a bit depressed because Dumbfuck was getting married and the asshole is happy. But dammit, I’m more depressed now than I was when I walked through your door.” He snatched his glass and drained it. “I hate shit like that.” Dean leaned back on the sofa, cradling his glass.

“Let’s eat until we puke.” Brent opened the bag of Cheetos and passed them to Dean because he knew they were his favorite. Then he opened the chips and went to the refrigerator to grab a couple of beers before flopping on the sofa. He’d had enough whiskey, so he popped a beer open and drank. Brent sighed. “Sometimes I think I’m the stupidest man on earth.”

“Why?” Dean’s speech was a little slurred, or maybe it was the mouth full of Cheetos. It was hard to tell.

“Because I wasn’t gutsy enough just to tell him what I wanted. I know it won’t make a difference, not now.” Brent drank another sip of beer and then picked up the bag of chips. “I suppose we always regret the things we don’t do.”

Dean shook his head. “Yeah, I know that. I should have left Chuck long before I did.”

“You know, maybe it’s time you stop trying to screw every guy in town and find someone special.” Brent set his beer on the coffee table, turning toward Dean. “Every time I go to Trevor’s and see him and James together, I get so fucking jealous that I want to scream. They have what I want, and I can’t ever seem to find it for myself.” He crunched another chip. God, now he was sharing his feelings and shit. It must be the whiskey. “Forget I said anything. Okay? It’s not that important. Let it go.” He turned on the television and found a RuPaul marathon. It gave them something to talk about other than his feelings.

 

About the Author

Andrew grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works in information systems for a large corporation.

Andrew’s hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing)  He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful, historic Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Author Links:

Amazon Author Page

Barnes and Noble Page

Dreamspinner Press

Facebook

Facebook Group All the Way with Andrew Grey

Goodreads

Twitter @andrewgreybooks

Website

For Other Works by Andrew Grey

(Please Be Sure To Stop by His Website to See All of His Works)

The Titles Below Are for the Heart Unseen Novels Only

Links go to Amazon

Heart Unseen Book 1

Heart Unheard Book 2

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Andrew Grey on the Definition of HEA and his latest release ‘Taming the Beast’ (guest blog)

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Taming the Beast by Andrew Grey
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Art: Paul Richmond

Release Date: October 13, 2017

Book Links

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Dreamspinner Press

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Andrew Grey here today on his Taming the Beast tour.  Welcome, Andrew.

✒︎
I’m very much a Happily Ever After kind of guy.  I like my characters to feel as though they are going to be together in the story as well as my heart.  But I seem to have a problem because I’m not sure what a HEA really means any more.  In traditional romance that path leads to the altar or at least to a proposal.  But in MM romance marriage wasn’t possible for so many years, so a HEA usual consisted of some sort of gesture of permanence.  They moved in together, bought a house, or asked each other to be their life partner, even exchanged rings with only the two of them.  Something to signify that they planned to stay together.  Now in this age of marriage equality, I’m having trouble because I’m not sure if we’ve reverted to the traditional version of an HEA or not.  In my stories I tend to use the older definition of an HEA, probably because I’m an old fart and getting older by the day.  (Rolls eyes)     But I’d like to hear what you think.  Please comment and let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear them.

Blurb/Synopsis

The suspicious death of Dante Bartholomew’s wife changed him, especially in the eyes of the residents of St. Giles. They no longer see a successful businessman… only a monster they believe was involved. Dante’s horrific reputation eclipses the truth to the point that he sees no choice but to isolate himself and his heart.

The plan backfires when he meets counselor Beau Clarity and the children he works with. Beau and the kids see beyond the beastly reputation to the beautiful soul inside Dante, and Dante’s cold heart begins to thaw as they slip past his defenses. The warmth and hope Beau brings to Dante’s life helps him see his entire existence—his trials and sorrows—in a brighter light.

But Dante’s secrets could rip happiness from their grasp… especially since someone isn’t above hurting those Dante has grown to love in order to bring him down.

Excerpt

Dante turned back to Bobby. “Do you know what we’re going to have for dinner?”

“Roast beef and potatoes and beans.” Bobby made a face. “I don’t like beans.”

“Bobby,” Beau said gently.

“Why not? They’re good, and they make you grow up big and strong. My mom always made me eat my green beans, and look at me.” He sat up straight, and Bobby’s eyes widened.

“These are green and yellow beans together,” Beau clarified.

“Even better. The yellow ones make you smarter. I really like those. And it’s good to be smart.” Dante nudged Bobby. “I’ll make a deal with you. If you eat all your beans, then after dinner, I’ll see if they have any ice cream for dessert.”

Bobby shook his head. “There’s cake.” He pushed out his lower lip. “I can’t have cake. It has gluten in it.” He turned away, his little shoulders drooping.

“I see.” Dante pulled out his phone and made a very quick call to Harriet at the house, then began to eat. When he was done with his starter, his salad was placed in front of him, and he ate it slowly. As he finished, the lady from the other couple, who had been quiet so far, asked him about what the Foundation did. “It’s to better the people and community of St. Giles and Maryland in general, though we localize our work to the Eastern Shore. We take proposals from anyone and evaluate them for community impact and need.”

“Do you get anything out of it?” she asked.

“I own the porcelain works, and half the profits go into the Foundation. We invest the money and then arrange to distribute the earnings through our projects. The principal is never touched, and so far it has grown each year through contributions.” Dante finished his salad and glanced at Bobby, who was carefully eating one piece of lettuce at a time.

“I’m Clyde Harrison, and this is my wife, Jean. I’m a second-shift foreman at the porcelain works.” He reached across the table to shake hands, and Jean did the same. They both seemed nervous, like if they said one wrong thing, Dante would fire him.

“It’s nice to meet you, Jean.” He turned to Clyde. “I’ve seen you at the plant.” He thought for a second. “You were the one who came up with the idea to reroute the laboratory-ware line last year. That was a great idea, and it’ll be done next month. We figure it will save us quite a bit.” Dante had already arranged a bonus for him, but he’d let that work through the channels.

The conversation died, and Dante turned to Bobby, who had eaten about half his salad and seemed to be finished. “Are you done?” Dante asked him, and Bobby nodded. The servers collected their plates and brought the dinners.

“Do I have to eat all this?” Bobby whispered. “Mama says I have to clean my plate and not waste food.” He looked at him and then at Beau.

“Just eat what you want and have some of the beans.” Dante winked, and Bobby took a bite of the beans and ate a few before starting on the rest. Beau helped Bobby cut his meat, and then the kid ate like a trooper. “Is it good?” Dante asked.

Bobby grinned, nodded, and went back to eating. Dante took a few bites and ate a little of the roast beef. It was okay. The potatoes weren’t exceptional. He ate the vegetables and enough of the rest to make his hunger abate and then waited for his plate to be cleared.

As the conversation in the room increased while the courses were changed, Dante excused himself and left the room. Roberts stood waiting for him. “Harriet added some ice to make sure this stayed cold.”

“Thank you.” Dante took the small cooler bag and carried it back into the banquet room. Pieces of cake had been distributed, with one sitting in front of each place, including Bobby’s, taunting the poor kid. Dante moved the cake aside and opened the bag. Dante took out a bowl of Harriet’s homemade chocolate ice cream and set it at Bobby’s place. “Guaranteed gluten-free.”

“Thank you!” Bobby said and began to eat like he hadn’t just had dinner.

About the Author

Andrew grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works in information systems for a large corporation.

Andrew’s hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing)  He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful, historic Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Author Links

For Other Works by Andrew Grey

(Please Be Sure To Stop by His Website to See All of His Works)

In the Spotlight: Never Let You Go (Forever Yours #2) by Andrew Grey (guest blog and excerpt)

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Never Let You Go (Forever Yours #2) by Andrew Grey

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: Sept 8 2017
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase
Available for Purchase from Dreamspinner Press

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Andrew Grey here for a short interview on his tour for his latest novel Never Let You Go (Forever Yours #2).  Welcome, Andrew.

♥︎

How much of yourself goes into a character?   There is some of me in every character I write.  I think there has to be in order for the characters to feel genuine.  I have written characters that are completely different from me in many ways, but still there is some small piece of myself in them.  I like to think of myself as a caring giving person and even in my hardest, most unfeeling characters, they often still have something redeemable inside.  Even if its really deep down. 

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?  I really like both.  I like it best when a story has a HEA.  Sometimes a happy ever after is too contrived to bring about in some circumstances.  Making the characters happy for now is sometimes good enough.  However I do feel that with a HFN, we owe our readers something in the future.  Maybe a glimpse of their lives in a future book that shows the progression of the relationship.  After all we read romance because we want our characters to be happy.

Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?  I didn’t start reading romances until I was in my forties.  I found them by accident an Amazon algorithms.    They recommended the first gay romances to me and I was hooked after my first few books. 

Blurb/Synopsis:

Friends since they met in school, Ashton and Brighton soon become much more. Ash and his aunt are Brighton’s haven away from his mess of a family, and when Ash enlists in the Army, Brighton learns to endure his long absences and eagerly awaits his return from missions.

Until one day Ash doesn’t come back, and Brighton thinks his greatest fear has come true.

Months pass and Brighton grieves for Ash, not knowing that a terrible misunderstanding sent Ash running, unable to cope when he thought Brighton had betrayed him. Even after an emotional reunion, their relationship isn’t the same—Brighton is now responsible for his young niece, and he’s having a hard time rediscovering the trust he once had in Ash. Ash must still tend to his mental health, but before he can, he’ll have to deal with a past secret that puts all their lives at risk. With so many forces determined to tear them apart, can Brighton and Ash hold on to each other and never let go?

Series: Currently a Standalone
Genre:  M/M Contemporary Romance

Excerpt 

Prologue

One Year Ago

Ashton Williams parked under one of the apple-shaped streetlights on Main Street and got out of his old gray Taurus. He leaned back down to grab his hated cane and then closed the car door. Standing still, he turned to the right and left, looking up and down the street. It hadn’t changed much at all. The place still had the same small-town feel it always had. Ash remembered bounding up the steps of the library when he was in high school so he could see if they had a copy of the latest movie or a video game he’d wanted. Books, not so much, but games and videos—he’d been all about those.

He took a step around the car, heading away from traffic and onto the sidewalk. The drugstore was just down the block, and damn it all, he wasn’t so crippled that half a block was too far to walk. Maybe he should have waited until he’d had more therapy and the doctors decided if he should have surgery on his knee. Ash had been making progress and everyone said he needed to be patient. Ash stopped, pushing those memories from his mind. That wasn’t why he was here, and those thoughts did nothing but bring him back to the brink of the gaping hole of despair he’d been thrown into for months. He needed to put that behind him, at least during the day. Nights were another matter, but during the day, he was determined to look forward to what he’d had and could have once again.

Ash’s heart beat a little faster as he walked closer to the store where Brighton worked. He was so properly named; at least Ash had always thought so. One look from his stunning blue eyes could push away the heaviest clouds. Even recalling them in his mind’s eye allowed him to get through months of confinement in rooms and holes where he could barely move, stomach empty, throat parched, wishing he could die but knowing Brighton was out there, waiting for him. Ash had stored the sunshine in those eyes in his mind, holding them precious, letting those eyes framed by flowing blond curls carry him through hell and out the other side. The photograph he’d had was long gone. It had fallen apart months ago. Ash had worn it out, but he carried the image with him where no one could get to it.

He’d called the telephone number he had for Brighton three times, each with the same response that the number was no longer in service, and when he checked the internet, it pointed him to the number he already had. That only added to his need to get here and see if he could find Brighton in case something had happened to him.

He moved on, getting closer now. Ash knew Brighton’s schedule at work, at least the one he’d been working before he’d left. Ash hadn’t wanted to leave, but he’d had no choice, and saying goodbye to Brighton had been the hardest, most heartbreaking thing he’d ever had to do. It was supposed to be his last assignment, two weeks and then he’d be able to use up his remaining leave and he’d be done, free, out… and his life would be his own once again. And now it was, at least what was left of it. He’d been discharged, sure enough, but he was left a shell of a man, and not just his injured body. His insides were hollow, and Ash wasn’t even sure who he was any longer. All he knew was that he needed to get back to Brighton, so as soon as he’d been released and his debriefings were completed, he’d taken off, against the doctor’s wishes. Everything inside him pulled him to Brighton.

Now he was back in his hometown, where he and Brighton had first met in middle school, though it was years later that they’d reconnected and something had clicked between them. Ash still couldn’t believe it had been at a church social his aunt—Petunia to everyone else, but Aunt Petey to him—and only remaining family member had asked him to attend. He’d expected an evening of old ladies and helping Aunt Petey with whatever she needed.

Ash raised his eyes to the sky, letting the heat from the sun warm his face and dry the tears that threatened. He’d already been to see her in the nursing home and was determined to get her the hell out of there.

“One thing at a time,” he whispered to himself. That was another symptom of his incarceration at the hands of the enemy: he talked to himself all the time. It was a way to feel less lonely and had become a habit. He needed to let go of it because it tended to freak other people out. He lifted his gaze as he continued his slow steps toward his goal.

The door to the drugstore opened and a man stepped out. Ash knew him instantly—the height, or lack of it, slight build, floppy curls. Brighton needed a haircut, but he was still the man Ash had thought of and dreamed about every single time he’d closed his eyes for the last nine months. His body ached all over, and Ash felt Brighton’s pull as strongly as the gravity of the sun.

Ash took a few steps, for a few seconds forgetting the cane and his aching leg. They didn’t matter. All that did was how close he was and removing the last bit of distance that had spanned months and thousands of miles. Brighton turned away without looking, heading farther from him. He wasn’t walking fast, but Ash was even slower, regardless of how much he pushed. Somehow Ash managed to pick up his pace, needing to get closer. The man he carried in his heart so deep, who had gotten him through hell and allowed him to come back, was just ahead, so close he could see him.

Ash opened his mouth to call out as Brighton stopped at the door to the coffee shop, holding it open as someone emerged. Another man, someone Ash didn’t recognize, fell into step with Brighton, heading to the corner. They waited for the light, and Ash moved forward while they stopped. He was so damn close.

“Brighton,” Ash called, but the sound went nowhere. His throat was so dry, the cry came out as a whisper. He wet his mouth and swallowed multiple times, unable to take his gaze away. Ash’s heart raced, his blood pounding a staccato beat in his ears. This was it. He was close, and all he could think about was how he was going to get to taste Brighton’s sweet lips and feel his smooth, hot skin under his hands, and have someone to hold and see him through the nights when the inevitable nightmares came.

Ash stopped walking as Brighton leaned into the other man’s touch. It was then that Ash saw the other man’s hand rested on the small of Brighton’s back, protectively, lovingly, the way Ash had always done. The light changed, and they crossed the street together. Ash told himself that they could just be friends and got his feet moving once again. Brighton was within sight and so close.

But then Ash stopped dead in his tracks, unable to move, as the man walking with Brighton leaned closer, his face disappearing behind Brighton’s head. Ash knew he’d kissed him. He couldn’t move. Suddenly his feet were so heavy, he couldn’t lift them. He leaned entirely on his cane, hoping it didn’t buckle under his weight, because if it did, he was going down. Ash didn’t give a fuck. The physical pain would be preferable to the ache that settled where his heart had been, growing more and more acute until each breath became a stabbing pain. He’d seen movies, plenty of them, and he always thought that expression actors used when their heart had broken was fake. Well, it wasn’t. He knew, because when he turned, the mask of pain reflected in the plate glass window was that exact expression. Combined with it was a sharp tearing he knew was his heart shattering into a million little pieces before scattering to the breeze.

He lifted his gaze to where Brighton had been but didn’t see him. They were gone, most likely into the diner across the street. Ash thought about going over himself, but he knew what he would find and couldn’t take it. The thought of Brighton, the person he loved, the man who’d sworn he’d wait for him, his soul mate and the reason Ash had survived that hellhole for months…. Ash couldn’t even bring himself to say the words.

That same gaping maw of blackness that had dogged him through months of interrogation opened in front of him again. More than once he’d thought of throwing himself into it and bringing the pain to an end. But he hadn’t. He’d been stronger than that, and he still was, dammit. Ash turned around and lifted his gaze to where his car was parked. He hadn’t really gone that far, thank God. At least he could make it back and then, in the semi privacy of his own vehicle, he could fall apart.

A few minutes later, Ash fumbled to open the car door and threw the cane inside, the metal rod banging against the far window before falling onto the floor of the back seat. He managed to get inside and close the door, then leaned forward, resting his head on the steering wheel.

In the few minutes he’d been gone, the car had turned into an oven, and when Ash closed his eyes, he was right back in that little hole in the ground where the air didn’t move and the sun beating on the dark-painted metal threatened to roast him alive. Ash gasped as he came back to himself and reality. He started the car and turned the air-conditioning on full blast. He needed cold, and he got plenty of it. Within minutes he was chilled and maybe shivering as frigid air flooded into the car. Ash ignored it as he put the car into gear. He pulled out of the parking space and through town without stopping. He didn’t know where he was going to go. One thing was for sure: there was no way he could stay here. Brighton was with someone else, and running into him was only going to break Ash’s heart and send him into a spin of despair that even now he wasn’t sure he could recover from.

Ash saw the signs pointing to 15 and made the turn toward the freeway. That was his ticket out and away. He had to make a stop first, but he could do that. Then… well, maybe it was best if he went back to the hospital. He was a man of his word, unlike some people.

Fuck it all to hell if his lower lip didn’t quiver just a little. Ash pounded the steering wheel with his hand. He hated that he was so fucking weak. He’d promised the doctors that there was something he had to do and that he’d come back. At the time Ash had meant it, even if in the back of his head he’d hoped that would be after a happy reunion with Brighton and….

Ash shook his head to clear away those thoughts and ended up swerving from one side of the road to the next. No, he needed to get it together long enough to see his aunt one more time and then drive back to the hospital. That was what he needed to do.

With his decision made, he got ready to turn his back on the one person he’d honestly expected would always be there for him.

About the Author

Andrew grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works in information systems for a large corporation.

Andrew’s hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing)  He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful, historic Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Author Links

Amazon Author Page

Barnes and Noble Page

Dreamspinner Press

Facebook

Facebook Group All the Way with Andrew Grey

Goodreads

Twitter @andrewgreybooks

Website

For Other Works by Andrew Grey

(Please Be Sure To Stop by His Website to See All of His Works)

Andrew Grey on Inspiration, Location, and his latest release Ebb and Flow (Love’s Charter #2) (guest post and excerpt)

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Ebb and Flow (Love’s Charter #2) by Andrew Grey

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: Aug 18 2017

Cover Artist: L.C. Chase

Book Links: 

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Dreamspinner Press

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Andrew Grey back today with a guest post and excerpt from his latest novel Ebb and Flow. Welcome, Andrew!

🌊

Andrew Grey on Inspiration and Location

I like to set my stories in places I’ve visited.  It helps me get a sense of the place and be able to describe it clearly.  Also each setting has a certain feel to it about the place itself as well as the people.  For Ebb and Flow, the setting came as the result of a visit to my publishers who lives in that area of Florida.  On that trip I also got the opportunity to spend the day fishing on the gulf.  It was an amazing experience and the captain and his mate were amazing people whom it was a pleasure to get to know.  During the trip back, we had engine problems.  They jumped on it fast, diagnosing the issue and devising a solution with the tools and supplies they had on board.  The thought fast and repaired the boat so we could get back to shore safely and as quickly as possible.  My contribution to the problem solving was to stay out of the way.  I will admit that smoke pouring out of the engine compartment scared the crap out of me, but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been and the guys remained cool and calm under pressure.  I’ll go out fishing with them any time.  Parts of them are in each of the charter boat characters. 

Blurb/Synopsis:

To achieve happiness, they’ll have to find the courage to be their own men.

As first mate on a charter fishing boat, Billy Ray meets a lot of people, but not one of them has made him as uncomfortable as Skippy—because he’s drawn to Skippy as surely as the moon pulls the tides, and he’s almost as powerless to resist. Billy Ray has spent his life denying who he is to avoid the wrath of his religious father, and he can’t allow anyone to see through his carefully built façade.

Skippy is only in town on business and will have to return to Boston once he’s through. But he doesn’t count on Billy Ray capturing his attention and touching his heart. After all, his father has certain expectations, and one of them is not him staying in Florida.

Billy Ray doesn’t realize just how much he and Skippy have in common, though. They’re both living to please their fathers instead of following their own dreams—a fact that becomes painfully obvious when they get to know each other and realize how much joy they’ve denied themselves. While they can’t change the past, they can begin a future together and make up for lost time—as long as they’re willing to face the consequences of charting their own course.

hing.”

Excerpt 

To say that Billy Ray Lowell was uncomfortable would be a supreme understatement. Hell, it was like saying a hurricane was a nice, refreshing breeze. Billy Ray knew he liked boys—he’d figured that out a while ago. The problem was, he was with four other men who did too, and he felt like they knew what he was like. He wondered if they’d say something or if they could read his mind or something. Skippy kept watching him, and he had a hard—pun intended—time taking his attention away from him. Skippy was a little smaller than him, but compact and with great blue eyes the color of the water on the sunniest day, framed by dark blond hair that would probably lighten if he spent more time in the sun, and a golden complexion.

“Billy Ray,” Bubba said, and he jumped to bait Jerry’s hook, then moved on to Kyle’s. He was doing his best to avoid Skippy and leave him to Bubba, but it wasn’t working, and every time he got close to him, his cologne, which was really nice and probably a lot more expensive than the deodorant Billy Ray wore, drew him like a moth to flame. It was clean, with an undertone of heat that sent ripples running down Billy Ray’s back.

“I got one,” Skippy called, cranking the reel as the pole bent.

Billy Ray got the net as a huge grouper broke the water. He scooped it up and took the hook out, then slid the amazing fish into the box and covered it with ice. “Great catch. I think that’s about the biggest one I’ve seen in a while,” he told Skippy, who grinned from ear to ear, and damned if that didn’t make Billy Ray’s heart thump a little faster. He needed to get his head in the game and out of his pants, or he was going to fall in or something.

“Good eating tonight,” Skippy declared, and the others echoed his sentiment. “We figured we’d cook what we catch tonight, so you come on by the house and join us if you like. I’ll give you the address. I have it in my bag. There’s nothing like a fresh catch.”

“I agree with that,” Bubba said, and Billy Ray nodded. If Bubba was going to this party, he couldn’t very well stay away and not look like a jerk. “Bait his line and let’s see if there’s another one down there.”

Billy Ray jumped to, but the lines had gone slack, so Bubba made the call to haul them up and started the engine to move them on. While they moved, Billy Ray baited all the hooks and cut up some more bait so it would be ready for their next stop. He also washed down the decking from where one of the fish had bled a little. When they stopped, he secured them in place with the anchor, and they repeated the process of making sure the boat was in position. Then the guys started fishing, and once again Skippy pulled up a beauty. It was definitely his day.

As Billy Ray unhooked the fish, its fin scraped along his hand, cutting the back of it. He jerked, dropping the fish.

Bubba got the fish in the bucket. “Go wash it.”

“Kyle’s a doctor,” Skippy said, taking Billy Ray’s hand, and before Billy Ray could do anything to protest, Skippy had tugged him over.

“We need to get his wound cleaned right away.” Kyle put his pole in the holder and hurried to his bag. “Sit right there, and I’ll have you fixed up in no time.”

“This happens sometimes. It’s no big deal.” Billy Ray would have just used something to cover the cut and then gone back to work. That was what he usually did, unless the cut was pretty bad.

“Just sit down.” Kyle sat next to him and cleaned the wound. Billy Ray hissed but didn’t cry out even when the alcohol burned. “The fish carry bacteria, and a cut like this can get infected easily.” Kyle had a gentle grip, but it didn’t make his stomach do little flips, not the way the slightest touch from Skippy did. Billy Ray wished he knew what was causing it so he could make it stop. It wasn’t as though he was going to do anything about it. Skippy was a rich guy from up north, and he was a poor Southern kid who lived in the same town where he was born and had never gone anywhere or seen anything.

“Is it deep?”

Kyle shook his head as he worked. “No. But I want to bandage it well enough that you can work without getting it dirty.” He finished with the bandage and put his things away.

Billy Ray thanked Kyle and got back to work, raising the anchor so they could move to their next spot.

“We’re going to be traveling for a while,” Bubba said from the pilot location.

“Then we should eat,” Steven declared, pulling open the cooler. “I have plenty for everyone.” He took out containers of fried chicken, cold salads, fruit, and drinks. It was like a miniature buffet, and Billy Ray’s mouth watered.

“It’s all right,” Bubba told him. Usually the rule was to let the guests eat. They often offered some of what they brought, but Bubba and Mike thought it best to remain separate and do their job. “Go ahead. These guys are different. They’re friends of Mike and William’s.”

“Have something,” Skippy offered as he sat down. “Steven always packs more than we can eat, and he gets the best food. Help yourself.” He handed a plate to Billy Ray, who hesitated before taking it, watching the others as they talked among themselves in such a good-natured way. They seemed so… normal.

“Thanks.” Billy Ray took a little of everything and then sat off to the side while the five friends sat together. Or maybe it was just four friends and a guest. Alec, the youngest of the group, sat slightly away from the others and ate quietly while the rest talked nonstop, poking fun at each other as they sped out to their next fishing location.

About the Author

Andrew grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works in information systems for a large corporation.

Andrew’s hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing)  He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful, historic Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Author Links

Amazon Author Page

Barnes and Noble Page

Dreamspinner Press

Facebook

Facebook Group All the Way with Andrew Grey

Goodreads

Twitter @andrewgreybooks

Website

For Other Works by Andrew Grey

(Please Be Sure To Stop by His Website to See All of His Works)