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

****Please add to Post if Reviewing****
**** Disclosure of Material: I received a final and/or advanced reader copy of this book from RBTL Book Promotions and the Author/Publisher with the hope that I will leave my Unbiased Opinion. I was not required to leave a review, positive or otherwise, and my opinions are just that… My Opinions. I am posting this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”. *****

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)

Andrew Grey on Inspiration and his new release ‘Fire and Fog’ (guest blog and exclusive except)

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Fire and Fog (Carlisle Cops #6) by Andrew Grey
Dreamspinner Press
Cover art by L.C. Chase

Release Date: July 7 2017

Purchase Links

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Dreamspinner Press

 

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Andrew Grey on his Fire and Fog Blog Tour. Welcome, Andrew!

 

♦︎

The Carlisle Cops series is close to my heart.  It takes place in the town where I live, but each story also comes from a local news story in some way.  Every now and then a story in the news will really piss me off for some reason.  Usually these stories involve children in some way, either that or someone who’s hurting, being hurt more.  Those stories I file away and then make an appearance in these stories.  This story is no exception.  There was a local story about rent scams that I saw.  People were taking advantage of the poor who had no resources to know better.  Scams in general piss me off, but those on the people with the least to loose make me angry.  So I included that story line in Fire and Fog.  I really hope you enjoy the story as much as I liked telling it.

 

Blurb/Synopsis

Carlisle police officer Dwayne knows what Robin is doing the moment he lays eyes on the young man at Bronco’s club. But he doesn’t know that, like him, Robin also comes from a family who cast him out for being gay, or that he’s still lugging around the pain of that rejection. Robin leaves the club, and soon after Dwayne decides to as well—and is close by when things between Robin and his client turn violent.

When Dwayne finds out Robin is the victim of a scam that lost him his apartment, he can’t leave Robin to fend for himself on the streets. Despite Dwayne’s offer of help and even opening up his home, it’s hard for Robin to trust anything good. The friendship between them grows, and just as the two men start warming up to each other, Robin’s sister passes away, naming Robin to care for her son. Worse yet, their pasts creep back in to tear down the family and sense of belonging both of them long for.

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

The capitol complex shone like a beacon, and Dwayne headed in that direction. Light meant safety, and this wasn’t a familiar neighborhood for him. There were others on the street, some couples walking close together. It was a great summer night to be outside. He walked a block or so, the beat from the club still pulsing through the ground at his feet.

“That’s not what—” a voice called. Dwayne listened for more. “No!” Fear spiked the air, and Dwayne was on alert, listening for where the sound had come from. He heard the rip of fabric between passing cars. “I said no!” The voice got louder, and Dwayne picked up his pace.

“I paid and you’re going to put out.”

Dwayne reached the alley entrance, stopped, and peered around the corner. A huge guy stood near a dingy brick wall. It was hard to see, but Dwayne could just make out another man pressed to the brick, the side of his face against the unyielding wall.

“That’s enough.”

“Get out of here. He and I have business,” the guy growled.

Dwayne stepped closer, ready for action. “You need to leave now!” He used his cop voice and saw the guy flinch. He might be big, but as Dwayne got a closer look, he saw the beer gut and flabby arms. This guy probably was used to throwing his weight around, but there really wasn’t much to him.

“Fuck off. I paid and I’m getting my money’s worth.”

“So you’re admitting to soliciting someone for sex… to a police officer. That makes my job very easy.” Dwayne pulled out his phone, and the lug took a step back and then ran the other way. Well, he sort of waddled fast, but the response was the one Dwayne wanted. He made sure the guy was gone and then helped the smaller man, who had crumpled to the alley floor.

“It’s all right. He’s gone.” Dwayne lifted the guy, who wasn’t verbally responding, off the concrete and carried him out to where there was more light. As soon as the glow from the street shone on golden hair, Dwayne knew who it was.

“Robin.” He caressed his cheek, and Robin groaned. Dwayne set him down and waited for the shock to wear off. “You want to tell me what happened?”

Robin managed to stand and rubbed the side of his face, then pulled the remains of his tattered shirt together. “No.”

“I’ve got a pretty good idea already.” Dwayne half expected Robin to try to bolt, but instead he just shook, and Dwayne held him upright. “Let me guess. For all the bravado, this was the first time you’ve done anything like this.”

“Shit… I can take care of myself.” The defiance was back, and Dwayne was glad Robin was able to manage it, even if he knew it was all just a front.

“Like you did back there.” He wasn’t in the mood for nice at the moment. “I’m not dumb. I know what you were doing and what nearly happened. So you can tell me about it, or I can call some friends of mine and you can talk to them about prostitution.”

“You’re a real jerk, you know that?” Robin’s stomach rumbled loudly, and he put his hands over it as though it ached.

“No. The jerk was the guy in the alley. I’m the man who saved your ass from God knows what.” Dwayne saw some of the fire go out of Robin’s eyes. “And you’re acting defensive to the guy who saved your ass, quite literally, from what was about to happen. So I think you can open up and tell me what’s really going on.”

Robin quivered once again. “I was about to leave the club because I wasn’t going to get anything in there. Too many people watching. That guy approached me and asked if I was up for a little fun. We left and he paid me fifty bucks. I figured I could blow him as long as I was careful, but it turned out he wanted more than that, and I wasn’t going to give it to him, so he was planning to take what he wanted anyway.” Robin sniffed. “He stank and shuffled all the time, like he might have been sick or something, but fifty bucks will feed me for like two weeks. And….”

“How long has it been since you ate?” Dwayne asked.

“I don’t know. Probably yesterday.” Robin suddenly seemed even smaller and weaker. Dwayne knew he should be a little ashamed, but Robin’s vulnerability seemed to make him more attractive.

“Come on, then.” Dwayne guided Robin down the block to the corner. “There’s a diner just that way. We can get something to eat and then you can tell me what’s really going on.”

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 ones listed below is for the Carlisle Cops Only

Fire and Water (1)

Fire and Ice (2)

Fire and Rain (3)

Fire and Snow (4)

Fire and Hail (5)

Fire and Fog (6)

Andrew Grey On A Gulf Fishing Trip and his latest release ‘Setting the Hook’ (author guest post)

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Setting the Hook by Andrew Grey

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: May 12 2017
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase

Available for Sale at:    Dreamspinner Press    | Amazon 

Barnes and Noble

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to welcome back Andrew Grey on his Setting the Hook tour.  Hi, Andrew!

🌊

Labor Day weekend I had the opportunity to fish on the gulf for the first time.  It was an amazing experience and I had an incredible time  And as you can guess, I looked out over the water, fishing, talking, laughing, and the entire time my mind is running though how I could use all the experiences in a book.  I stored them away until the idea for Setting the Hook started developing in my mind.  I do have to tell you that while the situations were different, that weekend we did experience many, of the things in the story, including the hurricane, catching the sharks, as well as meeting some amazing people who left an impression on me.    I can’t wait for my next fishing trip so I can see what comes out of that.

 

Blurb/Synopsis

It could be the catch of a lifetime. William Westmoreland escapes his unfulfilling Rhode Island existence by traveling to Florida twice a year and chartering Mike Jansen’s fishing boat to take him out on the Gulf. The crystal-blue water and tropical scenery isn’t the only view William enjoys, but he’s never made his move. A vacation romance just isn’t on his horizon.

William Westmoreland escapes his unfulfilling Rhode Island existence by traveling to Florida twice a year and chartering Mike Jansen’s fishing boat to take him out on the Gulf. The crystal-blue water and tropical scenery isn’t the only view William enjoys, but he’s never made his move. A vacation romance just isn’t on his horizon.

Mike started his Apalachicola charter fishing service as a way to care for his daughter and mother, putting their safety and security ahead of the needs of his own heart. Denying his attraction becomes harder with each of William’s visits.

William and Mike’s latest fishing excursion starts with a beautiful day, but a hurricane’s erratic course changes everything, stranding William. As the wind and rain rage outside, the passion the two men have been trying to resist for years crashes over them. In the storm’s wake, it leaves both men yearning to prolong what they have found. But real life pulls William back to his obligations. Can they find a way to reduce the distance between them and discover a place where their souls can meet? The journey will require rough sailing, but the bright future at the end might be worth the choppy seas.

Series: Standalone
Genre:  M/M Contemporary Romance

Excerpt 

“The storm didn’t turn north. It’s continued moving west and is now near Orlando. If its winds start to reach the Gulf, the waves are going to build quickly. It seems like they’ve pretty much given up trying to predict this sucker and are winging it.”

Gordon turned toward the water. “Give it a few more hours and we’ll head in. There’s no sense taking any chances, and they’re going to have plenty of fish by then at this rate.”

“I agree.” If the storm headed their way, he and Gordon were going to need time to secure everything. “I’ve been listening to the weather every hour anyway.”

Mike returned to work, and Gordon helped William and Dean replace their nibbled-away bait. Mike moved them to a few more spots, each one closer to shore. After two hours, he checked the forecast once again. The storm was now expected to continue on its current path. “All right. This is our last stop. We’ll stay here for about fifteen minutes and then head in. The storm that was supposed to turn north in the Atlantic didn’t. It’s crossing Florida and will hit the Gulf in a few hours. We don’t want to be out here when it does.”

The attitude on the boat immediately changed. Mike started getting things together while Gordon helped the guys fish. They caught mostly red snapper and threw them back. William got a small reef shark, and Gordon clubbed it enough to stun it and got the hook out, letting it drop back into the water. That brought the trip to an end, and Mike pointed the bow toward land and opened up the throttle.

Gordon gathered up all the equipment and began putting it away. “Sorry, guys, about cutting things short.”

“It’s perfectly all right,” Dean said with a wide grin. “It’s better to be safe than sorry, and this was an amazing day. One I’m going to remember for a long time.” He sat down nearby, and William took the seat right behind him. Mike was hyperaware of him and knew William was watching him.

The wind picked up slightly as they went, though thankfully the water’s surface remained calm. But it wasn’t going to stay that way once the storm passed over Florida.

“Does anyone have a signal on their phone?” Mike asked.

“I’m checking,” William answered from behind him. “I have something, but not enough to really do any good. I could probably make a call if necessary, but….” William didn’t finish his thought as the power to the engine cut out.

“Fire!” Gordon yelled.

Mike switched the controls off immediately. Black smoke poured from the engine compartment vents, and Mike sprang to his feet, grabbed a fire extinguisher, and ushered Dean and William as far away as possible. Gordon got into position and tugged on the rope that would lift the engine cover, with Mike ready to douse any flames.

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, Inspiration, and Setting the Hook, his latest release (author guest blog and excerpt)

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Setting the Hook by Andrew Grey
Publisher:
Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: L.C. Chase
Release Date: May 12 2017

 

Sales Links

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Dreamspinner Press

✒︎

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Andrew Grey here today talking about Setting the Hook, his latest story and the inspiration behind it. Welcome, Andrew.
✒︎
On Inspiration and Setting the Hook by Andrew Grey
Labor Day weekend I had the opportunity to fish on the gulf for the first time.  It was an amazing experience and I had an incredible time  And as you can guess, I looked out over the water, fishing, talking, laughing, and the entire time my mind is running though how I could use all the experiences in a book.  I stored them away until the idea for Setting the Hook started developing in my mind.  I do have to tell you that while the situations were different, that weekend we did experience many, of the things in the story, including the hurricane, catching the sharks, as well as meeting some amazing people who left an impression on me.    I can’t wait for my next fishing trip so I can see what comes out of that.  ~ Andrew

Blurb/Synopsis:

It could be the catch of a lifetime. William Westmoreland escapes his unfulfilling Rhode Island existence by traveling to Florida twice a year and chartering Mike Jansen’s fishing boat to take him out on the Gulf. The crystal-blue water and tropical scenery isn’t the only view William enjoys, but he’s never made his move. A vacation romance just isn’t on his horizon.

William Westmoreland escapes his unfulfilling Rhode Island existence by traveling to Florida twice a year and chartering Mike Jansen’s fishing boat to take him out on the Gulf. The crystal-blue water and tropical scenery isn’t the only view William enjoys, but he’s never made his move. A vacation romance just isn’t on his horizon.

Mike started his Apalachicola charter fishing service as a way to care for his daughter and mother, putting their safety and security ahead of the needs of his own heart. Denying his attraction becomes harder with each of William’s visits.

William and Mike’s latest fishing excursion starts with a beautiful day, but a hurricane’s erratic course changes everything, stranding William. As the wind and rain rage outside, the passion the two men have been trying to resist for years crashes over them. In the storm’s wake, it leaves both men yearning to prolong what they have found. But real life pulls William back to his obligations. Can they find a way to reduce the distance between them and discover a place where their souls can meet? The journey will require rough sailing, but the bright future at the end might be worth the choppy seas.

Series: Standalone
Genre:  M/M Contemporary Romance
Edition/Formats Available In: eBook & Print

Excerpt 

Dean got his bag and began slathering himself up. William already had, and he smelled of coconut and the rich, almost sweet scent that Mike would know anywhere. He kept his attention where it needed to be, but William kept tugging at his senses.

Mike knew he was attracted to William. He’d figured that out the first time William had showed up for a charter. Mike had taken one look at his broad shoulders and small waist hugged inside a tight T-shirt that might have been one size too small and his heart had raced. Mike still had fantasies about that white shirt that showed off the ripples in William’s belly and the way William’s nipples stuck out the perfect suckable amount. It had been hard for Mike to keep his attention where it needed to be, and now, even after four years, it wasn’t any easier. William was the kind of guy Mike could fall for. But that wasn’t going to happen. The list of reasons was so long, it could reach to the bottom of the Gulf.

William was a sophisticated man from the Northeast who worked in the family business, making engine parts for tractors, cranes, bulldozers, and all kinds of specialty engines. He lived outside Providence and was highly educated. There wasn’t any way a guy like him would be interested in someone like Mike. Besides, Mike saw him two times a year for the better part of a day when William came fishing. Their lives and worlds couldn’t have been more different, so whatever interest Mike might have in William was going to remain that—interest. Not action, and certainly nothing more than friendship of a sort. The fact that William got Mike’s motor running faster than the one on the boat was immaterial. He lived in Apalachicola, a town of two thousand people who made their living on the Gulf and where most people had family going back generations. There weren’t gay people in town as far as he knew, and Mike had no intention of being the one and only so folks could look at him differently.

“Mike,” Gordon called, pulling him out of his thoughts. “Are we getting close?”

“Yup.” Mike verified their position and turned on the fish finder, slowing down and checking out what was underneath them. “Go ahead and drop.” He slowed their speed even more, and Gordon released the anchor.

They came to a stop, the boat rocking on the waves as they got the guys ready. Mike let Gordon do his thing, and soon both Dean and William were reeling them in.

“I got a huge one!” William cried, his line whizzing out from the reel.

“Mike!” Gordon cried. “It broke the reel.” He hurried over as the line came to the end, nearly jerking the pole out of William’s hand.

Mike come up right behind him, taking hold of the rod as well, pressing to William’s back. “Get the large line spool. We can roll it onto that by hand.” He didn’t want to move but put space between them anyway, grateful for the distraction. Whatever William had was strong and large. Gordon passed him gloves, and he yanked them on, then pulled in more and more line. Foot after foot the line was retrieved, and William’s catch got closer to the surface.

“Shark,” Dean cried, pointing as a large yellow-gold body appeared from under the water.

“It’s a nurse shark,” Gordon said. “Odd to catch one during the day.”

Mike nodded his agreement. “I’d guess it’s about six feet.” He pulled back as the shark broke the surface right near the boat. “Someone snap a picture.” He held the line still, and Gordon got some pictures. So did Dean. Then Mike cut the line, and the shark took off back down into the water.

“Do you think it will survive?” William asked.

Mike shrugged, watching the waves, and thankfully the shark didn’t make an appearance as a floater.

Dean returned to his line, got a bite, and hauled in a really nice-size grouper, which went into the box with more ice.

“Let’s move on.”

Gordon hauled in the anchor, and they went in search of another location.

The morning passed with some nice catches. Dean and William ate lunch in the shade as Mike tried to locate a spot he’d had good luck with before. Out of habit and because of his mother’s warning, he checked the weather reports once again.

“Wind on the Gulf is still expected to diminish, as are the waves. However, Hurricane Marshall is continuing its fast pace toward the Space Coast, showing no signs as yet of turning north, has picked up speed, and will likely make landfall near Daytona Beach. It is now expected to turn north and ride up the center of the state and into Georgia.”

Mike sighed and took off his headphones. The weather wasn’t threatening, but he’d check in another hour for another update. Mike wasn’t so concerned about getting caught in the storm itself as much as the storm entering the Gulf and stirring up the waves.

He found a good location, and Gordon threw the anchor. While the guys fished, Mike ate his lunch and then switched with Gordon so he could eat as well, and William offered them whatever they wanted from his overflowing cooler.

The next few hours fell into a routine for Mike and Gordon, interrupted by Mike’s occasional daydreams about William. Mike checked the weather every few hours. The next check had little new information, but the report at two was disturbing.

“Hurricane Marshall made landfall at Daytona Beach and has been downgraded to a tropical storm. The eye is currently twenty miles north of Orlando. It continues to move west-northwest at twenty-nine miles an hour and is now expected the enter the Gulf as a tropical storm, but could strengthen once it gets over water. Stay tuned for further advisories.”

Mike’s stomach clenched and he looked to the east. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and the storm was hundreds of miles away. Usually Mike stayed out until six and then headed back to the marina.

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

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

Andrew Grey on Inspiration and his latest release ‘Heart Unseen’ by Andrew Grey (guest blog and special excerpt)

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Heart Unseen by Andrew Grey
D
reamspinner Press
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase
Release Date: April 7 2017

Available for Purchase at

✒︎

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Andrew Grey today. Andrew has brought an excerpt from his latest release, Heart Unseen for our readers.  Welcome, Andrew!

✒︎

Andrew Grey: I love this story and it was an amazing experience writing it.  The idea started with a question.  What would it be like for a blind man to ride a motorcycle for the first time.  That idea led me to James and Trevor.    Trevor has always traded on his looks.  He’s used to getting any guy he wants with a wink and by crooking his fingers.  But when he approached James, he looks through him.  See James is blind had if Trevor wants to get the attention of the man he describes as angelic, he;s going to need to dig deeper and let James ‘see’ the real person inside.  What surprises Trevor the most is the way he opens up to James… at least to a degree.  But some things are too hard to reveal.

Blurb/Synopsis:

As a stunningly attractive man and the owner of a successful chain of auto repair garages, Trevor is used to attention, adoration, and getting what he wants. What he wants tends to be passionate, no-strings-attached flings with men he meets in clubs. He doesn’t expect anything different when he sets his sights on James. Imagine his surprise when the charm that normally brings men to their knees fails to impress. Trevor will need to drop the routine and connect with James on a meaningful level. He starts by offering to take James home, instead of James riding home with his intoxicated friend.

For James, losing his sight at a young age meant limited opportunities for social interaction. Spending most of his time working at a school for the blind has left him unfamiliar with Trevor’s world, but James has fought hard for his independence, and he knows what he wants. Right now, that means stepping outside his comfort zone and into Trevor’s heart.

Trevor is also open to exploring real love and commitment for a change, but before he can be the man James needs him to be, he’ll have to deal with the pain of his past.

Excerpt 

“You’re watching him again, aren’t you?” Brent asked, and Trevor nodded without even thinking about it. There was something about him that hit Trevor like a punch in the gut. James sat there in the midst of all the chaos and noise almost like none of it quite reached him. That was fascinating and incredibly attractive.

“We always want what we can’t have,” Brent said from near his shoulder.

“I know, but I keep wondering why I can’t look away from him. What is it about this guy that draws me to him?” Trevor had never experienced anything like this before. He’d known more men than he could count, and trying to remember them all took too much effort.

“Who knows why we’re attracted to one person over another?”

“I don’t get it. He’s just another guy.”

Brent shook his head and finished his drink, then set the empty glass on the table. “Maybe it’s time you admitted that there’s more to being a man than a cock and some balls. That there’s another organ that’s just as important.”

“When did you get so philosophical?” Trevor asked, honestly interested in the answer, but not getting one as Bobby and Dean returned.

“Is that the guy you were interested in?” Bobby pointed across the dance floor.

“Yeah. I talked to him for a few minutes.”

Bobby chuckled and leaned into Dean, whispering something in his ear, and they shared a laugh. Bobby turned to smile at Trevor. “You weren’t going to get anywhere with him with your smile and stunning good looks.”

“Why not?” Trevor demanded.

“He’s blind.” Bobby said the words so easily, and they hit Trevor in the gut. He watched James, and it made sense. The way he held his glass with both hands wrapped gently around it as if he’d lose it if he wasn’t touching it. How James had looked through him the entire time Trevor had been speaking to him because he couldn’t see and was just looking in his direction, probably to try to be polite. At least Trevor understood why none of his “charms” had worked.

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 and his new release ‘Cleansing Flame (Rekindled Flame #2)’ by Andrew Grey (special excerpt)

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Cleansing Flame (Rekindled Flame #2) by Andrew Grey
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: L.C. Chase
Release Date: Mar 10 2017

Available for Purchase at: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Dreamspinner Press

✒︎

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Andrew Grey here today to talk a little about the inspiration behind his latest story, Cleansing Flame, the second novel in the Rekindled Flame series.  Welcome, Andrew.

♥︎

The idea for this story came from an old diary that I found in some things in the house.  It wasn’t important and didn’t contain anything all that interesting.  However it did get my mind running and I thought about what would happen if the diary had been something special. As I was mulling those thoughts a reader asked me to write a story about the Carlisle Indian School.  As I was finishing up my previous story, my mind churned the two things together and I ended up with the basis for Cleansing Flame.  I’ve never written a story with this kind of element before and I don’t know if I will again.  But I did fall in love with both sets of characters.

Blurb/Synopsis:

Life has been grinding Dayne Mills down almost for as long as he can remember. First he lost the love of his life in an accident that also left him with a permanent injury, and then his mother passed away a year later. When his house burns to the ground, it’s the last straw. He can’t take any more, and if it wasn’t for kind and handsome firefighter Lawson Martin offering him a hand up and a place to stay, he doesn’t know what he’d do. Dayne would love for his relationship with Lawson to evolve into something beyond charity, but he knows going after a man so far out of his league will only lead to yet more heartache. It’s best to just keep his mind on his research.

It’s that research that leads Dayne to an old student journal that not only provides clues to the Native American heritage Lawson has been searching for, but chronicles a century-old love story. The tale that unfolds might be just what Dayne and Lawson need to remember that no matter how dark life becomes, love can find a way to shine through.

Edition/Formats Available In: eBook & Print

Excerpt

Dayne pulled his car into the drugstore parking lot across the street, got out, and walked up to where a group of neighbors had gathered. He turned to where they were all looking and gasped as flames shot out of the windows of his little house.

“Oh God,” Dayne mumbled as he hurried forward. Everything he owned was in that house. It was all he had left of his mom. As flames shot out of front door and the roof collapsed, Dayne’s legs gave out and the grass rose up to meet him.

“Hey,” a deep voice said from close to him. Dayne felt like a fool and struggled to get up. He was helped to his feet, and the fireman took off his helmet. “It’s you.”

“That’s my house…,” Dayne said weakly as water sprayed all over what was left of the only home he’d known. “Everything I have….” He gasped and tried not to come apart at the seams.

“It will be all right.” He took Dayne’s arm and gently helped steady him.

“I don’t see how.” One of the walls fell in, and Dayne turned away. Everything was gone. The last of what he’d had from his mother had been in that house, and the flames had taken it all. A cloud of steam went up as the last of the fire died away, leaving only a smoking ruin of what had been his life.

“I’m sorry this happened to you.” The firefighter gently put an arm around Dayne’s shoulder, and the last of Dayne’s control broke.

He buried his face in the man’s chest and cried like the stupid baby he was. Damn it, he tried not to, but this was too much. For a year, he’d been doing his best to hold it together, to get through each day as it came, hoping the pain would lessen. But every damn time he thought things might be getting better, something happened, and this was the worst.

“It’s all right. Just let it out.”

Dayne heard people around him, but he kept his face where it was for a bit, afraid to look for fear of dying of embarrassment. Dayne breathed deeply and backed away, swallowing and getting himself together. “I’m sorry.” He wiped his eyes and tried not to get snot all over himself.

“Don’t be.” The man didn’t move, and Dayne lifted his gaze.

“I guess after I slobbered all over you, I should tell you my name. I’m Dayne.” He wiped his hands on his pants because they were covered with things he shouldn’t have on them.

“I’m Lawson Martin.” He took Dayne’s hand and held it.

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)