Heidi Cullinan with a Special Excerpt from her Trilogy finale ‘The Doctor’s Orders (Copper Point Medical #3)’ (author guest blog and excerpt)

Standard

 

The Doctor’s Orders (Copper Point Medical #3) by Heidi Cullinan

Dreamspinner Press
Published August 20th 2019
Cover Art: Kanaxa

Buy Links

Goodreads • Publisher • Audible • Ripped Bodice • Barnes & Noble • Google Play Ebook • Google Play Audio • Apple Books • Kobo (US) • Kobo (Canada) • Amazon (US) • Amazon(Canada) • Amazon (UK) • Powells

 

 

Hi, and thanks for having me here today. I’m going to share a little information about my latest release, The Doctor’s Orders, available August 20 from Dreamspinner Press and wherever books are sold.

The Doctor’s Orders is book three in the Copper Point: Medical series, the final book in that trilogy. In this installment, we get to know Jared, an openly gay pediatrician, and Nick, the very closeted CEO of the hospital. Though Nick and Jared secretly dated in high school, it was clear nothing was ever going to happen between them again…until Jared and Nick are trapped in an elevator together, where sparks fly.

Here’s a little snippet from the book, a few sparks flying between Jared and Nick at a welcome reception for a new doctor. I hope you enjoy this excerpt, and I hope you give The Doctor’s Orders a try!

*

There weren’t many people on the balcony. The temperature had settled into something far more tolerable, but the fish flies were starting to come out. Not enough that the outside lights had to be turned off, but enough to make most people think the bay would be better viewed through a window.

Jared had never cared about the fish flies. When they’d been boys, they’d run off together to watch them swarm, laughing at how gross the insects were. They lived for the weeks when the eggs hatched and the bugs were so thick the city had to shut off streetlights or risk traffic accidents because so many bugs were drawn to the glow.

When they’d been a little older, they’d learned fish fly nights were good cover for other activities they didn’t want discovered.

Nick studied Jared’s profile in the early sunset, bay breeze whipping his blond hair until its baby-fine strands glinted like gossamer spider threads. He had a whisper of a goatee, common for him during the winter. It was nearly summer now, though. Nick wondered why Jared hadn’t shaved it off yet. It looked soft, though Nick suspected it wasn’t.

He wanted to find out.

He didn’t want Matt Engleton to.

Jared leaned on the railing and stared out at the water. “So are you going to date one of those women?”

Nick blinked. What brought this on? He glanced around, ensuring they were alone.

This apparently annoyed Jared. “The only other people out here are Mr. and Mrs. Larson, and they’re both so hard of hearing you’d have to shout into their ears for them to eavesdrop. Are you dating one of them or not?”

“Am I dating Mr. and Mrs. Larson?”

“Oh, don’t get cute.”

“Well, I don’t know who else you’re talking about. Who am I supposed to be dating?”

You. I’ve been thinking about dating you.

There was no way he could say that out loud, though. If he hinted he was thinking about such a thing, Jared would….

Well, he didn’t know what Jared would do anymore. That was the problem.

“I’m talking about your damn harem.” Jared gestured vaguely at the building behind them.

“My harem?”

Jared turned around, patience lost. “The women who’ve been hanging on you all night long.”

The women…? What women? Nick frowned at Jared. “You’ve been drinking too much.”

Jared laughed. “You’re kidding me. You’re so gay you can’t tell when a horde of women are hitting on you? All they’ve done all night is try to climb you like you’re a tree, or unwrap you like a Big Mac.”

Oh. He meant the group of people who had gathered around him inside, complimenting him on his accomplishments, who had clearly been attempting to make contact with him to further the interests of their families’ businesses. He supposed several of them had been women.

And of course Cynthia Ryan was a woman. She certainly wasn’t unwrapping him, though. Had anyone done that? What did that mean?

While it pleased him to hear Jared had kept such tabs on him, he didn’t appreciate being outed, even if there didn’t seem to be anyone around. “Keep your voice down.”

With a hmpf, Jared faced the bay.

Nick leaned against the rail beside him, daring to stand close enough to let their elbows and upper arms touch as he spoke softly. “None of them wanted me. They only wanted connections. St. Ann’s has the most growth in Copper Point right now. For decades the hospital has been hanging on by threads, held together by shady backroom deals. Now it might truly move forward. I’m trying to make sure that’s what actually happens.”

“So what you’re saying is you weren’t looking at these women at all, you were fixated on work, and it was me who was acting a fool, sitting alone in a corner getting jealous.”

Nick’s heart quickened at that confession, and he closed his eyes, taking in a deep, slow breath. A fish fly hit the top of his head, tangling briefly in his curls, and another smashed into his chin, but he didn’t care. It only further served to take him back to his youth, to the times they’d stood together like this, daring to touch each other more and more, until one day… one day….

Maybe this time I can get it right….

Maybe, somehow, this time it’ll all work out….

But the moment broke as Jared moved away, and when Nick opened his eyes, he saw Jared frowning at the bay, heard the iron in his voice when he spoke. “I should just date Matt and get over you. Date anyone and get over you.”

Nick’s breath caught.

Get… over me?

He gripped the rail as his thoughts tangled into each other. Jared wasn’t over him? After all this time? But they’d just been a fling. Youthful indiscretion. Nick’s mistake. His greatest lapse of judgment.

I’m the one who can’t get over you. But if you’ve been thinking of me all this time too….

Nick shut his eyes on a long blink, head spinning.

Jared kept talking. “It’d be a lot easier if I didn’t have to see you every damn day. And if you didn’t look like Idris Elba.”

“I look like Idris Elba?”

Jared waved impatiently at him. “You know you’re hot as hell. Don’t fish for more compliments.”

Nick wanted to whip out a net and collect them all. He wanted to scoop up Jared too.

All this time… have you really thought about me, all this time?

He lifted his hand, tried to speak.

No words came.

The door opened, and Kathryn appeared with a smile and two bottles of water. Jared pushed off the railing, weary and sad. “I’m going inside with Kathryn. Please leave me alone for the rest of the night.”

Nick didn’t want to let Jared go. He wanted to take him into his arms and confess everything, to tell him how he felt, how he’d always felt. Except he didn’t know what came after that confession.

I can’t change everything. Not now.

He watched Jared walking away and felt his heart tug.

I can’t change, but I want to.

Blurb

The elevator at St. Ann’s is out of order…but the chemistry between the doctor and CEO is working just fine.

Once upon a time Nicholas Beckert was the boy who stole kisses from Jared Kumpel beneath the bleachers, but now Jared’s a pediatrician and Nick is the hospital CEO who won’t glance his way. Everything changes, however, when they’re stranded alone in a hospital elevator. Ten years of cold shoulders melt away in five hours of close contact, and old passions rekindle into hot flames.

Once out of the elevator, Jared has no intention of letting Nick get away. It’s clear he’s desperate for someone to give him space to let go of the reins, and Jared is happy to oblige. But Jared wants Nick as a lover in a full, open relationship, which is a step further than Nick is willing to go. They’ve traded kisses under the bleachers for liaisons in the boardroom… and it looks like the same arguments that drove them apart in high school might do the same thing now.

Jared’s determined not to let that happen this time around. He won’t order Nick from his shell—he’ll listento what his friend says he needs to feel safe. Maybe this time he can prescribe his lover a happy ever after.

About the Author

Author of over thirty novels, Midwest-native Heidi Cullinan writes positive-outcome romances for LGBT characters struggling against insurmountable odds because she believes there’s no such thing as too much happy ever after. Heidi is a two-time RITA® finalist and her books have been recommended by Library Journal, USA Today, RT Magazine, and Publisher’s Weekly. When Heidi isn’t writing, she enjoys cooking, reading novels and manga, playing with her cats, and watching too much anime. Find out more at heidicullinan.com.

Awards

Copper Point: Medical Series

The Doctor’s Secret

The Doctor’s Date

The Doctor’s Orders

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: The Doctor’s Date (Copper Point Medical #2) by Heidi Cullinan

Standard

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Before I started this book, if I had taken a bet on how good I thought Owen’s story could possibly be, I would have lost soundly. Because this book was not just good—it was fantastic!

Owen is the anesthesiologist at Copper Point Medical Center. He’s also the former roommate of Simon and current roommate of his other bestie, Jared. Together, the three shared a house when they came to Copper Point to work at the hospital. Now, Simon lives with Hung-Wu, aka Jack (The Doctor’s Secret), and Owen gets his fun by picking arguments with Erin Andreas, head of HR and son of the hated board president, Jean Jacques Andreas.

Though Owen doesn’t know it, Erin is strongly attracted to the gruff doctor but his inexperience in all things sexual (yes, he’s a virgin!) and his natural shyness, coupled with the emotional abuse heaped on him by his father as he grew up, all keep him from acting on the attraction. Until the bachelor auction held to raise funds for the new cardiac unit. Erin bids on Owen. In fact, Erin makes an outrageous bid for Owen—in the amount of $25,000! And things change between them. Each realizes the other is not the persona they show the world. And Erin learns that fighting with him is one of Owen’s life’s pleasures and he has to admit Owen’s attention is not unwanted.

I love how the author took the time to develop a relationship between these guys as their outer layers were slowly peeled away, one at a time, to reveal their true self, their inner child, so to speak. Because both have undergone emotional turmoil in their teens that strongly affected their lives and relationships with family, friends, and each other. And concurrent to their budding relationship, there’s more going on at the hospital as the administrator, their friend Nick Bennett, discovers that the hospital funds have been siphoned off for years. The dirty, underhanded board politics goes deep, and Erin fears his father may be at the center of the web. But, for as much as he hates him, he’s not sure he’ll survive the shame. There’s just so much to this story that it would take three times the size of a normal review to delve into what makes it so wonderful. 

And guess what? No on-page penetrative sex. Wow. It wasn’t necessary to the story so the author didn’t offer what would have amounted to a gratuitous sex scene. There’s kissing. Lots of kissing. And cuddling. And there’s some frottage, and more kissing, and more cuddling. And there’s love. Much love. In fact, I adored this couple and I believe other readers will too. I very highly recommend this book and series, beginning with The Doctor’s Secret for the full experience.

The cover by Kanaxa not only ties in to the cover of book one, it also spotlights Dr. Owen Gagnon in all his gruff glory. It’s perfect for this book.

Sales Links:Goodreads • Publisher • Audible • Ripped Bodice • Barnes & Noble • Google Play Ebook • Google Play Audio • Apple Books • Kobo (US) • Kobo (Canada) • Amazon (US) • Amazon(Canada) • Amazon (UK) • Powells

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 448 pages
Published June 18th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
Original Title The Doctor’s Date
ASINB 07PNPP1GD
Edition Language English
Series Copper Point Medical #2

Copper Point Medical Series

The Doctor’s Secret

The Doctor’s Date

The Doctor’s Orders

Heidi Cullinan on Novelty Socks, Characters and her new release The Doctor’s Date (Copper Point Medical #2) (guest post)

Standard

The Doctor’s Date (Copper Point Medical #2) by Heidi Cullinan
Published June 18th 2019
Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Kanaxa

Sales Links:Goodreads • Publisher • Audible • Ripped Bodice • Barnes & Noble • Google Play Ebook • Google Play Audio • Apple Books • Kobo (US) • Kobo (Canada) • Amazon (US) • Amazon(Canada) • Amazon (UK) • Powells

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is so happy to have Heidi Cullinan here today talking about one of my new favorite stories, The Doctor’s Date.  Honestly, I want these socks! Welcome, Heidi!

 

Thanks for having me today. I’m here to talk about my new book The Doctor’s Date, available in ebook, trade paper, and mass market from Dreamspinner Press. It’s book two in the Copper Point: Medical series, and it’s the story of Erin Andreas, no-nonsense hospital administrator, and Dr. Owen Andreas, the cantankerous anesthesiologist.

I’m also here to talk about socks.

In The Doctor’s Date, Owen has a collection of novelty socks. When I say he has a collection, I mean he has more novelty socks than he can ever wear. It’s one of those things that started small and went out of control as friends gave him the wackiest socks they could find at every opportunity. Now he has literal baskets of them all over his room, many of them unworn.

I borrowed this sock collection concept directly from my family. Both my husband and daughter have a thing for novelty socks, and as preparation for this post I asked them both to produce their favorites for a photo shoot. They immediately came back with a pile each.

Anna has more, mind you, but these are the first-tier favorites. Mitch, our cat, is also modeling with them. The furthest left, the s’mores socks, are a heartbreak because they apparently have a hole in the toe. She can’t wear them anymore, but can’t bear to toss them either. Next favorite, and equally in peril, are the taco dinosaur socks.

These socks (middle in the photo) are actually mentioned in the book. Anna got hers in a small mountain shop in Colorado last year, but they’re starting to wear through. She clearly needs new novelty socks, at the rate these are going. Next to them are the hedgehog socks, which were part of a Christmas present, if I recall correctly.

The last three of her faves are still intact, to my knowledge: the pizza socks, her favorite, the unicorn socks, and the sushi socks.

Now we’re on to Dan, who has a different setup.

Dan has a different theme running, excepting the orange taco socks (they share a mutual love.) He has shark and octopus socks, and then Scream socks.

[

The Scream socks are one of my favorites. I can’t remember if I included them in the book? Next up are Christmas lights, the aforementioned tacos, and at last, the asshole socks.

I’ve picked up a lot of these socks for them, though some were gifts, and some they selected themselves. Much like Owen. In the story, socks are definitely a running theme of individuality. For my husband, who wore black socks only for most of his life, I think they’re a rebellion, a way to have more of “him” show up at work. For my daughter, it’s just fun to have something unique on her feet.

I hate to tell you, I have no socks to share. I don’t like to think too much about them and just want to put things on my feet. I also can’t stand one slightly out of place thread in my socks or I lose my mind. A lot of novelty socks have different stitching on the inside, which is a no-no for me. Briefly, I had a few novelty socks, but when we did our Konmari clean, I got rid of most if not all of them. My socks are white, black, or navy blue.

Let me know what YOU are rocking for socks!

I hope you enjoy Owen and his socks in The Doctor’s Date, and all the books in the Copper Point series!

Blurb

Sequel to The Doctor’s Secret
Copper Point Medical: Book Two

The hospital’s least eligible bachelor and its aloof administrator hate each other… so why are they pretending to date?

Dr. Owen Gagnon and HR director Erin Andreas are infamous for their hospital hallway shouting matches. So imagine the town’s surprise when Erin bids an obscene amount of money to win Owen in the hospital bachelor auction—and Owen ups the ante by insisting Erin move in with him.

Copper Point may not know what’s going on, but neither do Erin and Owen. Erin intends his gesture to let Owen know he’s interested. Owen, on the other hand, suspects ulterior motives—that Erin wants a fake relationship as a refuge from his overbearing father.

With Erin suddenly heading a messy internal investigation, Owen wants to step up and be the hero Erin’s never had. Too bad Erin would rather spend his energy trying to rescue Owen from the shadows of a past he doesn’t talk about.

This relationship may be fake, but the feelings aren’t. Still, what Erin and Owen have won’t last unless they put their respective demons to rest. To do that, they’ll have to do more than work together—they’ll have to trust they can heal each other’s hearts.

 

The Doctor’s Date Excerpt 2

The last set dragged on much longer than Owen cared for, but he got through it one note at a time. He distracted himself from the dull horror of playing by being irritated over Erin’s touch of his shoulder. Erin hadn’t touched him before.

Whatever. He didn’t care if Erin never looked at him again, so long as he could get the hell off this stage.

Soon enough, he managed it part of the way, stiffly half bowing with the quartet before abandoning his instrument and disappearing behind the curtain to join the rest of the bachelors, including Jared.

Jared waved at him and patted a space beside him on the wall. “Good job, Crankypants. You made it through. I warned people not to compliment you, but feel free to snarl at anyone who doesn’t listen.”

Owen shut his eyes. “Can I go first and get this over with? I want a drink.”

“Unfortunately they’ve assigned us numbers. I’m number eight. You’re number seventeen.”

Hell.” Owen shrank into a crouch.

Jared reached into his jacket, lowering himself to Owen’s side. “Here.” He handed Owen a bottle. “I thought it was overkill, but after interrogating Simon and me to figure out why you were behaving the way you were, Jack wrote this script for you and had the hospital pharmacy fill it, making me bring it just in case. It’s a handful of Xanax. Don’t take enough that you’re too stoned to stand, but maybe enough so you can remain upright without sweating.”

Owen checked the dosage, popped the lid, and dry swallowed a tablet. He hadn’t taken a short-term anxiety med in years. He was pissed that he needed to, annoyed Jack had noticed he was so off his game he required medication, but he was also grateful.

Jared grimaced. “Jack regrets making you play.”

Owen rubbed his thumb over the top of the prescription bottle. “I don’t want to talk about it.”

“Trust me, the message has come through loud and clear. All I’m saying is, don’t worry, we’ve got you, okay? You’re not going to have to do anything more tonight except stand on the stage long enough for Jack to pay up. I’m chipping in too if it comes to it, but I can’t imagine it will.”

“Just pay for the booze.” Owen willed the Xanax to work faster. “Why didn’t Jack give me this before we played, anyway?”

“He was afraid you’d fuck up.”

Owen snorted. No, idiot. I’d have played ten times better.

Whatever. It was over now, and he was never touching a violin again. For tonight, the damage had been done. He’d put the instrument down, but he still felt it in his hands, heard it in his head. Stirring up things he’d buried for good reason.

He could see her. Hearher. He hadn’t spared his mother a thought in years, and now she reverberated, starring in the memory that made him want to curl in a ball and vomit. It didn’t end there, though. Older ones began, tinged with the darkness of that day. All the times he trudged across the snow with the violin case clutched in his hand, his house in the distance, wondering if he’d hear her at the piano or hear his father shuffling across the kitchen, searching for another beer. He saw her profile at the piano bench as he played beside her. He saw himself crouching underneath it as he watched their arguments from between the legs.

Broken glass. The broken legs of the piano bench. The jarring discord of her back as it hit the keys, the crunch of his first violin when it slammed against the wall.

The day he’d come home from high school and she’d been sitting at the piano, waiting for him, her back in profile at the bench as she played, then stopped. Come here, Owen. I have something to tell you.

Owen reached for a second Xanax. He could push most of the memories away, but his mother sitting at the piano with her back to him lingered like something out of a horror film. If she turned around and gave him that haunted smile, he was a dead man.

Jared held out his hand. “Give me the bottle.”

Owen tucked it deep inside his interior vest pocket. “Go to hell. And never let anyone ask me to play again. Not if it’s the only way we keep the world from ending.”

By the time the auction kicked off, so had Owen’s drugs. He didn’t have any more memories playing on repeat, and he didn’t feel haunted any longer. He still felt raw and peeled back, but he was more objective about it, as if observing himself on a hospital gurney. Adult male, age thirty-four, acute anxiety attack brought on by unwanted remembrance of bullshit past. Vitals are stabilized, but recommend patient be placed in front of a bottle of Scotch and more Xanax and left alone until he forgets he ever knew how to play violin in the first place.

When Owen chuckled, Jared poked his arm and held out his hand insistently. “Seriously, give me the fucking bottle.”

Owen did, mostly because at that point he had no need for it. She wasn’t drifting through his mind anymore, but if she did, it wouldn’t matter. God bless alprazolam.

Jared made him stand to prove he wasn’t going to act drunk on stage—it was going to be a near thing, but he could fake it. “You’re a mess,” Jared said as he went off to be auctioned, and then it was Owen alone, glaring at the other bachelors for fun except when he wanted to laugh at them instead. He was freaking them out, so he stared at the wall, which thanks to the drug had become suddenly interesting.

At last they called his name, and honestly Owen thought someone should give him a medal, because instead of stomping out like a cloud of doom, he sauntered onstage with a cheeky salute. Jared, seated by a beaming elderly woman in the front row, gave him dirty looks, but Owen didn’t care. He rocked on his heels and waited for them to finish his introduction so the bidding could get over with and he could get out of here.

“Bachelor number seventeen.” The middle-aged woman Owen recognized as Mimi Roberts, the wife of one of the clinic doctors, gave an annoyingly knowing and theatrical wink to the audience. It would have bothered Owen normally, but he was too spent and high to care. She lifted her card and read, “Dr. Owen Gagnon, local boy through and through, who left Copper Point to get his degree, then returned to be our first and only anesthesiologist. He may be short on charm at times, but he’s long on loyalty, and he’s always ready to help a good cause.”

Cripes, who wrote these intros? He cast an eyebrow at Simon, but his friend was too busy staring at the emcee, paddle primed. Owen relaxed.

Oh, and there was old asshat John Jean Andreas, sitting with the other stuffed shirts from the board. Owen was surprised the jerk wasn’t tormenting his son, or at least keeping him on a short leash. Must be in the middle of greasing the old-white-man society wheels—

Owen’s blood chilled, curdling when Christian West leaned over to speak to John Jean, smile glinting in the dim light. After shutting his eyes on a long blink, Owen dove deep into the sheltering embrace of the Xanax and averted his gaze.

Mimi beamed at the audience. “As with all our bachelors, we’ll start the bidding at one hundred dollars, but I’m sure we can get—”

“Two hundred,” someone called out, and it wasn’t Simon or Jack. Oh hell, it was a clutch of drunk nurses with their pooled money on the table. Shit, this was exactly what he’d been afraid of—

Simon’s paddle whipped into the air. “Four hundred.”

The crowd erupted in murmurs, and Mimi clucked her tongue. “My, my. What an exciting beginning. It’s so good to see bidders enthusiastic, but as a reminder, we don’t need to jump up with quite so much drama this quickly—”

“Ten thousand dollars.”

Now the room was a wall of sound and a sea of chaos, people standing and trying to figure out where the bidder had come from. Owen recognized the voice, but he was sure he had to be wrong. He hadn’t heard someone bid ten thousand dollarsfor him.

Except someone had, and once again, it wasn’t Jack or Simon, who were pale and conferring with one another desperately as Jared extricated himself from his date and rushed to their table.

“Well.” Mimi laughed nervously into the microphone. “Someone certainly wants a date with you, Dr. Gagnon. I can’t see who it is, but I can’t imagine anyone else is going to top—”

“Um, eleven!” Jared’s voice broke as he held up Simon’s paddle and arm at once. Visible sweat was running down his face, but Simon and Jack nodded at him, their jaws set in determination.

“Twenty-five thousand dollars. I bid twenty-five thousand dollars for a date with Dr. Owen Gagnon, and I’m prepared to go muchhigher if need be.”

This time there was no mistaking the voice. Owen had known it before, but his brain had issued flat denials. He couldn’t get out of reality, though, when Erin Andreas walked down the aisle, holding his paddle high as the room whispered and gasped around him. Jack and Simon argued, panicking, and Jared shook his head. They were out of the running.

Owen collapsed on the edge of the stage, staring at Erin as he calmly closed the distance between them.

Well. Owen didn’t know what the hell was going on, but he did know he was going to need the bottle of Xanax back.

About the Author

Author of over thirty novels, Midwest-native Heidi Cullinan writes positive-outcome romances for LGBT characters struggling against insurmountable odds because she believes there’s no such thing as too much happy ever after. Heidi is a two-time RITA® finalist and her books have been recommended by Library Journal, USA Today, RT Magazine, and Publisher’s Weekly. When Heidi isn’t writing, she enjoys cooking, reading novels and manga, playing with her cats, and watching too much anime. Find out more at heidicullinan.com.

 

 

A MelanieM Review:The Doctor’s Secret (Copper Point Medical #1) by Heidi Cullinan

Standard

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

The brilliant but brooding new doctor encounters Copper Point’s sunny nurse-next-door… and nothing can stand in the way of this romance.

Dr. Hong-Wei Wu has come to Copper Point, Wisconsin, after the pressures of a high-powered residency burned him out of his career before he started. Ashamed of letting his family down after all they’ve done for him, he plans to live a quiet life as a simple surgeon in this tiny northern town. His plans, however, don’t include his outgoing, kind, and attractive surgical nurse, Simon Lane.

Simon wasn’t ready for the new surgeon to be a handsome charmer who keeps asking him for help getting settled and who woos him with amazing Taiwanese dishes. There’s no question—Dr. Wu is flirting with him, and Simon is flirting back. The problem is, St. Ann’s has a strict no-dating policy between staff, which means their romance is off the table… unless they bend the rules.

But a romance that keeps them—literally—in the closet can’t lead to happy ever after. Simon doesn’t want to stay a secret, and Hong-Wei doesn’t want to keep himself removed from life, not anymore. To secure their happiness, they’ll have to change the administration’s mind. But what other secrets will they uncover along the way, about Copper Point… and about each other?

 

I found The Doctor’s Secret (Copper Point Medical #1) by Heidi Cullinan a very sweet, heartwarming new contemporary romance and a wonderful start to a new series. As a long time fan of Cullinan’s stories and characters, I have enjoyed the many nuanced and layered portraits she’s delivered over the years.   With the start of this series and The Doctor’s Secret, I found in Hong-Wei another such fascinating and indelible character. Hong-Wei or  “Jack” has so many facets to him.  Driven perfectionist, competitor, humble and guilt ridden son and man in search of himself and a new future.  Also someone proud of his past and his culture as well as his talents as an exceptional doctor.  All of which comes through beautifully in Hong Wei the man and and the story.

The story is at its strongest when dealing with the medical aspects through Hong-Wei and the hospital.  Whether it’s through his dealings with the staff, his setting up his surgical team, his expectations, and finally all the events that occur that showcase exactly how brilliant Hong Wei truly is….these scenes and sections are a highlight and revelation into part of the hospital drama most people never see.  It felt real, unbelievably stressful, and heart pounding.

Also fascinating, Hong-Wei’s attachment to a local Chinese Restaurant, its owners (even though Hong Wei is from Taiwan) and the information about how the workers are shuffled from restaurant to restaurant, their isolation, etc.  Sometime else I was unfamiliar with.

As strong a character as Hong-Wei Wu was, the other half ot the main couple, Simon Lane, came across, imo, as the weak link here.  Yes, he was sweet, He loves his Asian romances, and is a great nurse.  But, he says he loves his town.  That’s the reason he never left yet you never get why he loves it.  Sure his parents and friends are there.  But I never got a real passion for the place out of Simon.  Funnily enough, that came from Hong-Wei.  He grows to feel grounded there, and the feeling of true love for St. Ann’s, what it could be, all the new friends he’s made, the very town itself?  All that passion and love for a location comes from Hong-Wei and not Simon, the very person glued to this town.  He also seems to lack the ability to stand up for himself for most of the story, being agreeable when Hong-Wei declares that he will make sure Simon is ‘safe”.  I never found his total passivity attractive.  Especially next to the character with so much depth and nuance that is Hong-Wei.

It’s even worse when Simon’s friends Owen and Jared have better chemistry with Hong-Wei as well.  I suspect those two (separately) wil each have their own romances in the series.  I   am looking forward to Owen’s especially.

It wrapped up perhaps a little too neatly and quickly for me with the hospital drama although the romance side was a nice touch.  I anticipate seeing more of the board drama play out in the future novels in this series.  I can’t wait to see which romance comes next in the series.  And perhaps more of this couple as well.  If you love Heidi Cullinan and contemporary romance, this is a story you will want to have on your list to read.

The cover by Kanaxa is eye catching. The model absolutely works for the character of Hong Wei and the design is simple yet elegant.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press | AmazonBarnes & Noble |

Book Details:

ebook, 250 pages
Expected publication: April 23rd 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
Original Title The Doctor’s Secret
ISBN 139781640808546
Edition Language English
Series Copper Point Medical #1
setting Wisconsin (United States)

Heidi Cullinan on Writing Medical Romances and her new novel “The Doctor’s Secret (Copper Point Medical #1) (guest post and excerpt)

Standard

The Doctor’s Secret (Copper Point Medical #1) by Heidi Cullinan

Dreamspinner Press
Published April 23rd 2019
Cover Artist: Kanaxa

Sales Links: Goodreads • Publisher • Audbile • Ripped Bodice • Barnes & Noble • Google Play Ebook • Google Play Audio • iTunes • Kobo (US) • Kobo (Canada) • Amazon (US) • Amazon (Canada) • Amazon (UK) • Powells

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Heidi Cullinan here today talking about writing medical romances, and her latest novel, The Doctor’s Secret! Welcome, Heidi!

 

 

Writing Medical Romances

Thanks so much for having me today! I’m here to talk about my latest novel and first installment in the Copper Point: Medical series, The Doctor’s Secret, available now from Dreamspinner Press.

I’ve always wanted to write a medical romance series. My husband has been a clinical pharmacist for years, and I know simply from dinner table conversation that hospital workplaces are full of enough conflict and drama to fill a publishing house. But my husband also started out at a small community hospital, a critical access hospital in fact, which meant there were some quirky things from his experience I was dying to include, at least in spirit.

It’s an interesting thing to be married to a hospital pharmacist. The most notable is that every time I’ve had medical care—childbirth, gallbladder surgery, emergency care, hysterectomy—I’ve done so at my husband’s place of work, meaning he knew everyone and exactly how to navigate the system to ensure I had the best care. Whenever I’ve needed a specialist, I simply turned to him and asked who was the one he trusted the most. When our daughter was born at the aforementioned critical access hospital, I was one of four mothers delivering—meaning they were full up—and because Anna’s labor was so long, everyone was curious about “Dan’s baby” and her birth was announced over the PA. But that also meant they gossiped when Anna was off the chart for height and not on it for weight as a nine-month-old, and our doctor got a lot of nosey people asking if “that Cullinan baby is okay.”

My daughter has no fear of hospitals—it’s the place where she went until her teen years meeting her father for dinner when he worked evenings or where we had to go to drop off something he needed or give him a ride home. The hospital also takes Dan away for many holidays—sick people need care every day of the year—and which frequently asks him to work overnights.

The greatest problem with writing medical romances was getting the medical details right, and for that I had the best beta reader in the world. Especially in this book I needed to ask him so many questions I started to feel like he needed a byline. The drawback of a pharmacist husband is knowing I wouldn’t be allowed to fudge anything. Watching medical shows with him can be aggravating: “That drug is only available IV, where are they getting a pill.” “That’s something they would have picked up right away.” “Completely implausible.” You get used to it. But I didn’t want to hear that about my own work, which meant we had a lot of conversations about illnesses and how to make them severe enough to be dramatic but not so much that the scene would be impacted. Gruelling stuff!

I always knew the first book would be doctor-nurse. But I also knew I wanted to include a doctor not born in the United States, because even in remote areas of the country, many doctors are not white and are naturalized citizens, especially from Asia. In my husband’s first place of employment, a GP and one of the surgeons were both originally from mainland China.  In fact, the ER doctor the night my one-year-old daughter got scratched by a cat near her eye and on her forehead was Dr. Lin, and that was when I learned he’d previously been a plastic surgeon. She barely has a scar, thanks to him.

I made Hong-Wei Taiwanese, though, because I wanted someone local to interview, and a woman my husband works with is a first-generation Taiwanese-American. Tracy decidedly affected this book and the depiction of Hong-Wei in a huge way, and I will be forever grateful to her. I learned so much more from talking with her than I did from any book, website, or even interviews with people online. There’s just nothing like listening to someone’s story face-to-face.

I hope you enjoy The Doctor’s Secret and the rest of the Copper Point books! Enjoy your stay at St. Ann’s Medical Center. The doctors will be sure to treat you right.

Blurb

The brilliant but brooding new doctor encounters Copper Point’s sunny nurse-next-door… and nothing can stand in the way of this romance.

Dr. Hong-Wei Wu has come to Copper Point, Wisconsin, after the pressures of a high-powered residency burned him out of his career before he started. Ashamed of letting his family down after all they’ve done for him, he plans to live a quiet life as a simple surgeon in this tiny northern town. His plans, however, don’t include his outgoing, kind, and attractive surgical nurse, Simon Lane.

Simon wasn’t ready for the new surgeon to be a handsome charmer who keeps asking him for help getting settled and who woos him with amazing Taiwanese dishes. There’s no question—Dr. Wu is flirting with him, and Simon is flirting back. The problem is, St. Ann’s has a strict no-dating policy between staff, which means their romance is off the table… unless they bend the rules.

But a romance that keeps them—literally—in the closet can’t lead to happy ever after. Simon doesn’t want to stay a secret, and Hong-Wei doesn’t want to keep himself removed from life, not anymore. To secure their happiness, they’ll have to change the administration’s mind. But what other secrets will they uncover along the way, about Copper Point… and about each other?

The Doctor’s Secret Excerpt :

WuHong-Wei.

The surgeon’s name rang in Simon’s head as he drove home after dropping Hong-Wei off at his condo. Wu Hong-Wei.All night Hong-Wei had spoken perfect English, but when he said his Taiwanese name, his accent came through, and Simon got a ridiculous thrill.

Which Simon reminded himself he shouldn’t have. Setting aside the fact that Dr. Wu—Hong-Wei—the new surgeon—was practically his boss, there was the new policy to bear in mind. Even so, Simon still floated as he parked the car and drifted up the path into the house. He shouldn’t think about the man that way, but for tonight at least, he would allow himself to dream.

Of course, he needed to be careful how he fantasized. Simon had two roommates, Owen Gagnon and Jared Kumpel, his friends from childhood who were also doctors at the hospital. They were also two of the biggest gossips in Copper Point.

Owen and Jared were home, Jared in the kitchen washing dishes, Owen sprawled in the overstuffed chair with one foot on the ottoman and one on the floor as he surfed his laptop. Owen glanced up over the top of his glasses as Simon came in.

“The prodigal returns.” Owen removed his glasses and shut his computer. “So, what’s the verdict on the new surgeon?”

Jared wiped his hands on a towel and waved Simon over. “Come get your dinner first. I held it in the oven for you.”

“Oh, sorry, I already ate.” Simon toed off his shoes and hung up his jacket, determined not to show any signs of embarrassment. If they saw weakness, they would have no mercy. “I took Dr. Wu somewhere because he was hungry.”

Owen rubbed his hands together. “Excellent. This means you got moredish on him. Come on. Spill. Is he an arrogant asshole? I mean, to a degree it’s a given. He’s a surgeon.”

Jared pulled Simon’s plate out of the oven and put the food into a storage container. “I’ve met decent surgeons.”

“Your definition of decent doesn’t count. Youare an arrogant asshole.” Owen gestured impatiently at Simon. “Out with it. What’s he like?”

Simon sat in the corner of the couch and drew his favorite afghan over his legs. How could he describe Hong-Wei without sounding ridiculous? “He’s a little reserved, though he warmed up after I talked to him for a bit.” Though he was slightly aloof in a way Simon hadn’t expected to be so tantalizing. “He didn’t want to go to a fancy restaurant. He wanted to go to a pub-style place.” Simon searched his brain for more information. “He has a sister. He just finished his residency.”

He told me his real name.

Jared glanced at Simon, glass and towel in his hand. “I still don’t know why someone would come to Copper Point from Baylor St. Luke’s. Either he’s terrible, or he’s crazy.”

“Not a chance he’s terrible.” Owen rested his elbow on the armrest and leaned on his hand. “Beckert has been running around bragging about his catch ever since the hire was official.”

Jared snorted. “He might have seen Bayloron the app and lost his common sense.”

Simon thought of Hong-Wei, of the cool, confident way he’d handled himself at the airport, how graceful his hands were when doing something as simple as navigating a fork. “I don’t think Dr. Wu is incompetent.”

“He’s crazy, then.” Jared turned back to the sink. “I guess I don’t care, as long as he gets his work done.”

“You haven’t told us much about what you thought of him, Simon.” Owen pushed his glasses higher and raised his eyebrows at Simon. “You’re being quite cagey, in fact.”

Simon deliberately didn’t meet Owen’s gaze. “I think he’s nice. I mean, obviously I don’t know him well. All I did was have dinner with him and drive him home. He was quiet in the car. He was on his phone for a while, and he slept a little.”

He’d seemed to flirt a few times, but Simon had probably imagined things. At any rate, he wasn’t sharing that.

About the Author

Author of over thirty novels, Midwest-native Heidi Cullinan writes positive-outcome romances for LGBT characters struggling against insurmountable odds because she believes there’s no such thing as too much happy ever after. Heidi is a two-time RITA® finalist and her books have been recommended by Library Journal, USA Today, RT Magazine, and Publisher’s Weekly. When Heidi isn’t writing, she enjoys cooking, reading novels and manga, playing with her cats, and watching too much anime. Find out more at heidicullinan.com.

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review:The Doctor’s Secret (Copper Point Medical #1) by Heidi Cullinan

Standard

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

When I saw that Heidi Cullinan was writing a new series I had high hopes and jumped on the chance to read the first book. And I was not disappointed at all. This story had engaging characters, substance, depth, an appreciation for K-pop music and Asian drama. In fact, I was so intrigued by the description of actor Aaron Yan I had to spend some time cruising Google. There was also a wonderfully complex cast of hospital-based characters and all the medical terms and info one would expect when one MC is a surgeon and the other a surgical nurse with two besties who are also doctors.

I have a Korean friend IRL whose personality is remarkably like that of Hong-Wei, the Taiwanese doctor who takes a position in a small hospital on Wisconsin’s northern peninsula. My friend comes across as somewhat aloof due to his upbringing—expected to overachieve from the time he was a child so he looks around in wonder when he sees others aren’t behaving the same way. Hong-Wei could have been my friend’s twin. Self-confident in his medical decisions, smart, honorable, respectful of elders, he has all the behaviors I have seen in my Asian friends.

Hong-Wei, also known as Jack, had his choice of hospitals after residency as he’s a highly sought after surgeon, however, he wanted to find peace and quiet so he could lick his wounds and recover from a traumatic hospital experience. It’s a total bonus that here at Copper Point he finds Simon, a handsome surgical nurse who’s smart and fun and totally into Asian drama and K-pop music.

It’s a match made in heaven—or at the keyboard of a highly creative author—and it worked well for me. Hong-Wei is brilliant and somewhat socially inept. Simon is intelligent and most definitely social as he’s known throughout the hospital and the town as a reliable, friendly guy. Their attraction is immediate—maybe a bit too instant, but considering I was engaged within a month, it’s certainly possible.

There’s plenty of action to keep readers interested with an underlying menace from the hospital board of directors who seem to have hogtied the hospital director and the HR director, who want to bring innovative change (and are likely future MCs). The most obvious issue that causes problems from the beginning is the rule prohibiting two staff members from dating. But there’s more and much of it involves the daily hospital operation and the reveals about Hong-Wei’s surgery specialty and reason for leaving Houston.

I totally enjoyed this story from Heidi Cullinan and I’m looking forward to more in this series. There’s a rich sense of culture and family and definitely an appreciation of Asian culture. I’m hoping secondary characters Owen and Erin take their hostility behind closed doors and that Jared and Nick quit their cold war. Tasty little teasing nuggets were dropped throughout the second half of this story. Now let’s hope we get the gourmet meal in future installments. This series promises to be yummy.

The cover by Kanaxa features a handsome Taiwanese man who bears a striking resemblance to the description of Hong-Wei in this story.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press | AmazonBarnes & Noble |

Book Details:

ebook, 250 pages
Expected publication: April 23rd 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
Original Title The Doctor’s Secret
ISBN 139781640808546
Edition Language English
Series Copper Point Medical #1
setting Wisconsin (United States)

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: Antisocial by Heidi Cullinan and Iggy Toma (Narrator)

Standard

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

I really enjoyed this audiobook.  No wait—let me rephrase that—I immensely enjoyed this outstanding audiobook performed by the incomparable Iggy Toma. He brings characters to life, making them real people I’d enjoy meeting—even those like Xander, who is antisocial.

Xander Fairchild is an Introvert with a capital I.  He really dislikes people and his only friend is sharp-tongued Zelda, a person who might, or might not, be friendly to him on any given day.  Zelda is one of several people who work with Xander at Benton College to create a manga serial.  Zelda’s forte is not art, however; that right belongs solely to Xander, who is highly talented and creative, though repressed socially and very self-deprecating. 

Skylar Stone was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and his every move has been planned by his very overbearing lawyer father. Skylar must score high on the LSAT test, and he must get into Yale and then, upon graduation, he must join his father’s law firm.  Period the end.  Per his father.  But Skylar takes one look at Xander’s art and falls head-over-heels in love with it.  And eventually, through a series of enlightenments about his own inner turmoil and life choices and new information about his feelings toward men and women and his own sexuality, he also falls in love with Xander. 

The journey Xander and Skylar take to love and acceptance is not typical.  The author gives us a totally different and unique perspective on love and sexuality.  Xander learns that he can express his love for Skylar through painting and his sexual connection can be expressed through touch and through use of his paint brushes.  Skylar learns what really makes Xander who he is and comes to love and accept him fully without attempting to change either his appearance or his personality. 

This is a very yaoi manga-slanted story and I loved the information passed to the reader through the characters in the delightful voices created by Iggy Toma.  I am an older woman who reads MM romance and LGBTQ lit for pleasure.  When I read, and certainly when I listen to an audiobook, I am looking for a real story to go along with whatever sex scenes an author may use to advance a plot. In other words, I’ve moved beyond choosing books because the sex scenes may be hot.  In this case, I’m pleased to say that I not only didn’t have to listen to gratuitous sex on page, but I was also gifted by a completely unique perspective on sexual pleasure and the simple enjoyment of connecting with one’s life partner. 

I can’t go heavy into details on the plot since I don’t have the book to refer back to for notes on character names, especially the Japanese character names affectionately given to Xander and Skylar and their friends.  That’s one of the few disadvantages of listening to an audiobook over actually reading an e-book version.  I will say, however, that the story was well-sprinkled with references to cherry blossoms and whether intended to be symbolic or not, I felt that watching Xander and Skylar come to a maturity and self-acceptance—each at his own pace and in his own way—was like watching a cherry blossom bloom. 

I highly recommend this audiobook!

~~

The very attractive cover depicts two young men drawn in manga-style but wearing clothing typical of each character in this book and, appropriately, cherry blossoms are sprinkled all over the page.   

Sales Links: Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Audible Audio, 14 pages
Length: 13 hrs and 52 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Published August 21st 2017 by Heidi Cullinan (first published August 8th 2017)
Original Title Antisocial
ASINB074VCZXSD
Edition Language English

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Antisocial by Heidi Cullinan

Standard

Rating: 5+ out of 5

A single stroke can change your world.

Xander Fairchild can’t stand people in general and frat boys in particular, so when he’s forced to spend his summer working on his senior project with Skylar Stone, a silver-tongued Delta Sig with a trust fund who wants to make Xander over into a shiny new image, Xander is determined to resist. He came to idyllic, Japanese culture-soaked Benten College to hide and make manga, not to be transformed into a corporate clone in the eleventh hour.

Skylar’s life has been laid out for him since before he was born, but all it takes is one look at Xander’s artwork, and the veneer around him begins to crack. Xander himself does plenty of damage too. There’s something about the antisocial artist’s refusal to yield that forces Skylar to acknowledge how much his own orchestrated future is killing him slowly…as is the truth about his gray-spectrum sexuality, which he hasn’t dared to speak aloud, even to himself.

Through a summer of art and friendship, Xander and Skylar learn more about each other, themselves, and their feelings for one another. But as their senior year begins, they must decide if they will part ways and return to the dull futures they had planned, or if they will take a risk and leap into a brightly colored future—together.

I’ve loved this author and her stories just forever and for so many different reasons.  And I have many several 5 stars reviews of her stories.  Cullinan always was one of my baselines in for bringing in unusual yet thoroughly realistic characters and situations and letting me connect emotionally on deep levels with each and every one.  Yet once I finished Antisocial, I was stunned by it’s beauty and its depth, Cullinan’s handling of asexuality and the main characters relationship.  I think it’s the best story she’s written.  Even now Xander and Skylar, their transformation from, well, if not frenemies, strangers on campus, to friends to lovers with their own HEA is one that continues to resonate within me.

The warmth of Cullinan’s style of writing is one that pulls a reader, this reader, intimately into her stories and lives of her characters.  Whether it’s the damaged, artistic Xander or stressed, high-society Skylar Stone, the Greek with the silver tongue and closet of secrets, Cullinan gently ushers you into their minds and hearts.  She reveals the detritus of Stone’s upbringing that’s keeping him from growing into the person he can be, the same being said for Xander too.  Then uses the Pygmalion story in a wonderful reversal that will thread elements together and bring closure in an emotionally satisfying and joyous climax.

In between, we get an amazing exploration of what asexuality in different forms can mean to a couple, to a person or persons and to a romance/relationship. The scenes with simple touches gave me shivers of delight as her descriptions telegraphed what it meant to Xander, Skylar and both of them as couple so beautifully.  Each explore the fact that there’s not just one “ace label” or two, but a spectrum of grey as it were.  Something other characters will or already understand.  Cullinan brings the element of asexuality and threads it throughout Antisocial in a number of ways, stunning, unexpected, and important ways.

A great plus?  The manga details and Japanese art history details that this story is laced with, like the woodcuts of Hokusai, seen to the right.  Finally, there is the cast of characters that surround and support Xander and Skylar, ones that I want to see so much more of.  All the tight members of the group from Lucky 7, especially Unc.  I would  plead with the author to bring them all back for more stories as I fell in love with all of them too.

But this is truly Xander and Skylar’s story and it’s in my top five of 2017.  The beauty of its story, its characters and relationship, the complexities of their romance, the growth and change each underwent in order for a future to be possible for them together.  Well, it still brings tears to my eyes and a glow to my heart.  I highly recommend this to you all.

 

Cover art by Natsukoworks, Cover design by Kanaxa Designs.  An absolutely perfect cover for an absolutely perfect story.  From the style, coloring and characters, its exquisite.

Buy Links  

Amazon US ebookAmazon US paperback,
Amazon UK ebookAmazon UK paperbackBarnes & NobleiTunesKoboScribdSmashwords

Book Details:

ebook, 460 pages
Expected publication: August 8th 2017 by Heidi Cullinan
ISBN13 9781945116094
Edition Language English

Antisocial by Heidi Cullinan Release Day Blog Tour (exclusive release day short and giveaway)

Standard

Antisocial by Heidi Cullinan

Cover art by Natsukoworks
Cover design by Kanaxa Designs

August 8, 2017

Buy Links:  Amazon US ebookAmazon US paperback,
Amazon UK ebookAmazon UK paperbackBarnes & NobleiTunesKoboScribdSmashwords

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have  Heidi Cullinan here on her Antisocial tour.  Welcome, Heidi!

 

Thanks so much for having me here today! I’m stopping by as part of my tour for my new novel Antisocial, a new adult gay and asexual romance set in a fictional college in upstate New York between a one-percenter fraternity boy and a highly antisocial artist. It released today, and in celebration I’m going to give you an extra special peek inside the story: I’m going to tell you a bit more about the story within the story, the manga the characters create, The Adventures of Hotay & Moo.

The Adventures of Hotay & Moo is, within the story of Antisocial, a manga within the school magazine Lucky 7, but it has been in the magazine’s history a comic and a short story as well. (The comic and manga versions are identical, of course, except in style and direction of the print.) What is consistent are the main characters, Hotay, who is based on the Shinto god Hotei, one of the seven gods of fortune, and Moo, who is based on Fudō Myōō, the Japanese version of Acala, a Buddhist deity.

I regret that I can’t draw worth a damn—and I mean that I cannot draw at all—but I can give you a short, very short scene between Hotay and Moo. The characters in the book make several guesses as to who among them might most be like Hotay and Moo. There is of course no wrong answer. You’ll have to let me know what you think when you read it yourself.

For now, please enjoy this exclusive release day short from The Adventures of Hotay & Moo.

Moo was lying on his bed, contentedly reading when the door to his room burst open and his friend Hotay exploded into his serene space, red-faced and beaming. “Moo, it’s the cherry blossom festival today.”

“I know.” Moo turned a page and kept reading. “I saw the flyers.”

“Well, why didn’t you tell me? Moreover, why are we sitting here when there’s a festival to go to?” Hotay leaned over Moo so that his round face blocked the view to Moo’s page. “Put down your book, and let’s go into town.”

Moo glared at the interruption to his solitude. “I didn’t tell you because I assumed you still knew how to read. The flyers were everywhere. They’d attached them to everything tall and post-like. I’m frankly astounded they didn’t staple one to you.”

As usual, Hotay refused to rise to Moo’s jab. “Nah. I’m too fat to be mistaken for a post.” He flopped onto the end of Moo’s bed with a dramatic sigh. “Come on, Moo. Let’s go to the festival. It sounds amazing. There’s going to be a firework display and everything.”

“I hate firework displays. They’re far too loud.”

“There will be food. Grilled squid, pork kabobs, mochi ice cream.”

Moo did enjoy mochi ice cream. But he hated crowds more. “If you want to go so badly, go. You don’t need me along.”

“But I do need you.” Hotay nudged Moo’s foot with his elbow, jostling his book so soundly he dropped it. “I can’t enjoy myself if you’re not along.”

Moo refused to dignify this comment with a remark, settling instead for a withering glare.

Hotay laughed, hard enough to shake the bed. “See, who else is going to look at me like that?”

“The look wasn’t supposed to amuse you, Hotay.”

“I know, but it does amuse me. You make me happy, Moo.”

Everything makes you happy.”

“Well, that’s true. But you make me especially happy. You’re my dearest friend.”

Moo sighed and picked up his book again. “Your dearest friend wants to be left alone to read.”

“Then I suppose I shall have to let you do so.”

Hotay made no more commentary about the festival, and he didn’t even fidget overly, only sat idly at the foot of Moo’s bed, as if he truly were content to remain there while Moo read and the festival continued without him. Moo, of course, couldn’t read a word, knowing Hotay was missing out, not even when he tried to tell himself his friend had made his choices and it wasn’t Moo’s problem.

Eventually Moo put the book down and scowled. “Please. I’m begging you. Go to the festival without me. Surely you’ll run into someone there you know.”

Hotay shook his head, smiling, as if he hadn’t a care in the world. “Can’t do it. But don’t worry. I’ve decided you’re right, it’s a perfect night to stay at home. Though I wish I had a way to let Benny know, because I’m afraid she’s going to be terribly disappointed.”

Moo closed the book and sat up straight, all his senses on alert. “…Benny?”

“Oh? Didn’t I say? Benny is going to be at the festival. In fact, she specifically asked me to make sure I brought you along.”

Moo had never felt so many emotions at once. Euphoria that Benny had asked for him. Terror that Benny had asked for him. Confusion over why Benny would ask for him.

Fury that Hotay had withheld this from him for so long. Was Benny somewhere in the festival waiting for him? How long had she been waiting? Was she still there?

Hurling the book at Hotay’s head, Moo swung his legs off the bed and rose.

“Are you going somewhere?” Hotay asked, still lounging, though he was also rubbing his forehead where the book had hit him.

“Get your damn coat,” Moo muttered, sifting through his closet for his own. “Are we going to a festival, or not?”

When he turned around, coat in hand, Hotay was at the door, wearing his cloak, hat, and shoes, ready to go, grinning like the fool he was. “I thought you’d never ask.”

A single stroke can change your world.

Xander Fairchild can’t stand people in general and frat boys in particular, so when he’s forced to spend his summer working on his senior project with Skylar Stone, a silver-tongued Delta Sig with a trust fund who wants to make Xander over into a shiny new image, Xander is determined to resist. He came to idyllic, Japanese culture-soaked Benten College to hide and make manga, not to be transformed into a corporate clone in the eleventh hour.

Skylar’s life has been laid out for him since before he was born, but all it takes is one look at Xander’s artwork, and the veneer around him begins to crack. Xander himself does plenty of damage too. There’s something about the antisocial artist’s refusal to yield that forces Skylar to acknowledge how much his own orchestrated future is killing him slowly…as is the truth about his gray-spectrum sexuality, which he hasn’t dared to speak aloud, even to himself.

Through a summer of art and friendship, Xander and Skylar learn more about each other, themselves, and their feelings for one another. But as their senior year begins, they must decide if they will part ways and return to the dull futures they had planned, or if they will take a risk and leap into a brightly colored future—together.

Heidi Cullinan has always enjoyed a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. Proud to be from the first Midwestern state with full marriage equality, Heidi is a vocal advocate for LGBT rights. She writes positive-outcome romances for LGBT characters struggling against insurmountable odds because she believes there’s no such thing as too much happy ever after. When Heidi isn’t writing, she enjoys playing with new recipes, reading romance and manga, playing with her cats, and watching too much anime. Find out more about Heidi at heidicullinan.com.

Blurb

A single stroke can change your world.

Xander Fairchild can’t stand people in general and frat boys in particular, so when he’s forced to spend his summer working on his senior project with Skylar Stone, a silver-tongued Delta Sig with a trust fund who wants to make Xander over into a shiny new image, Xander is determined to resist. He came to idyllic, Japanese culture-soaked Benten College to hide and make manga, not to be transformed into a corporate clone in the eleventh hour.

Skylar’s life has been laid out for him since before he was born, but all it takes is one look at Xander’s artwork, and the veneer around him begins to crack. Xander himself does plenty of damage too. There’s something about the antisocial artist’s refusal to yield that forces Skylar to acknowledge how much his own orchestrated future is killing him slowly…as is the truth about his gray-spectrum sexuality, which he hasn’t dared to speak aloud, even to himself.

Through a summer of art and friendship, Xander and Skylar learn more about each other, themselves, and their feelings for one another. But as their senior year begins, they must decide if they will part ways and return to the dull futures they had planned, or if they will take a risk and leap into a brightly colored future—together.

About the Author

Heidi’s Bio

Heidi Cullinan has always enjoyed a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. Proud to be from the first Midwestern state with full marriage equality, Heidi is a vocal advocate for LGBT rights. She writes positive-outcome romances for LGBT characters struggling against insurmountable odds because she believes there’s no such thing as too much happy ever after. When Heidi isn’t writing, she enjoys playing with new recipes, reading romance and manga, playing with her cats, and watching too much anime. Find out more about Heidi at heidicullinan.com.

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

A MelanieM Review: Frozen Heart (Love Lessons #1.5) by Heidi Cullinan

Standard

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Proposals don’t come with instructions.

Walter Lucas knows his boyfriend has been looking forward to the newest movie about a certain snow princess, but he isn’t prepared for the reality that is the front-row seat of Kelly Davidson’s cartoon obsession. There’s more going on in November than just the movie, however—Walter’s been working up the nerve to ask Kelly a certain question. When Walter set up his elaborate Thanksgiving marriage proposal, it seemed like such a good idea, but as the holiday, the movie premiere, and the question Walter never dreamt he’d be asking anyone converge…let’s just say even Hollywood’s best couldn’t sing and dance their way out of Walter’s tangle.

A short story or interlude in the Love Lessons series from Heidi Cullinan,  Frozen Heart is the proposal story of Walter and Kelly.  If you have followed this series, then you know this couple.  Kelly loves and for a special reason his Disney movies.  He’s been waiting for Frozen to come out and Walter has been waiting to  propose to Kelly.  Its hugely emotional, heartwarming, and everything I love about this series in a small bundle.

Plus if you have been oversaturated by the movie Frozen, Heidi Cullinan, through Kelly and Walter’s eyes and ears, reminds you why it resonated with millions of people young and old world wide.  Don’t be surprised if you find yourself singing those songs out loud once again.  You  really can’t help it.  It’s magic and so is this little story about a Frozen proposal.

Cover art by Kanaxa is adorable and works for branding the series and story.

Buy links: Amazon USAmazon UKBarnes & NobleiTunesKobo,  Smashwords

 

Book Details:

ebook, 2, 32 pages
Expected publication: May 23rd 2017 by Heidi Cullinan (first published December 24th 2013)
Original TitleFrozen Heart
ISBN139781945116025
Edition LanguageEnglish
URLhttp://www.heidicullinan.com/frozen-heart
SeriesLove Lessons #1.5