Only Forever by Scotty Cade
Master Captain Theodore Gourdin has always loved the ocean. But his devotion to maritime life left little possibility for a long-term relationship. After two failed marriages and numerous unsuccessful relationships, Theo gave up on finding the person who completed him and decided the sea was his soul mate. When offered the opportunity to captain the newly launched megayacht Eternity, Theo jumped at the chance. With Eternity’s maiden voyage looming, Theo focused all his energies on hiring his crew and readying his ship. The last thing he expected was to finally lose his heart in the process.
After twelve years at sea, First Officer Heath Rawlins was restless and in need of a change. A gay seaman’s life could be a lonely one, but to Heath the positives far outweighed the negatives. With excellent recommendations and an impressive résumé, he was quickly offered a position on the private megayacht Eternity. Heath’s heart skipped several beats when he finally met the ship’s captain. He was handsome and charming. And… familiar? Had they met somewhere before? Highly unlikely. But as smitten as Heath was with the gorgeous captain, everything inside him screamed, Abandon ship! Rough seas ahead!
Scotty Cade here. First off I’d like to thank Melanie and everyone over at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for giving me the opportunity to be with you again. I love giving you a sneak peak into my latest books and offer you a little insight into my world of creativity. I hope you enjoy this interview and as always feel free to leave a comment or drop me a line if you have any additional questions. Oh and I almost forgot—read on for an excerpt and a chance to win an eBook.
Here we go:
From where did the inspiration for “Only Forever” come? A memory, a myth, a place or journey, or something far more personal?
Actually all of the above. I’m almost certain it has happened to you as well, but a few times in my life I have met a person that I feel a very strong connection to. It doesn’t have to be romantic, although it can be, but the bond is almost instant. I believe that I have known that person before. We are old souls reconnecting. Am I experiencing a memory? Absolutely. Is it a former place or journey? I say hell yeah. Is it personal? Without a doubt. Without getting all Zen on you, I’m a firm believer that our life here on earth is just one stop along the way in our spiritual journey.
When writing this story, were you a planner or a pantzer? And why?
I’m usually a planner. I’m somewhat OCD and all my ducks need to be in a row for me to relax and clear my head, so I plan my work and work my plan. Now that doesn’t mean my stories always turns out the way I’d planned. Many don’t, but that’s how it starts out. For this book, it came to me so fast I had no time to plan. I sat at my computer and started typing. It’s short of a novel at just under fifty thousand words, but that’s because it wasn’t planned. When I typed “The End,” I could have gone back and added a few more chapters, but it just didn’t feel right. It was Heath and Theo’s story and they deserved it to be without distractions or other useless fluff that might add words but nothing to the story.
Does any genre draw you more than another when writing it or reading it and why does it do so?
Where writing is concerned, contemporary romance mixed with a little mystery is my favorite to write. The romantic mysteries are not my best sellers by far, but I so enjoy plotting them. My easy romance novels are the best sellers. The novels that deal with overcoming struggles, etc. are always a hit. I love writing them as well, but almost everything has been done at one time or another. Over and over again. So finding a way to add a new twist is hard. For the record, I hate angst. Especially in the way of cheating boyfriends or husbands so I normally avoid angst. If the story requires it, I add some, but its usually resolved pretty quickly. When it comes to reading, I love when love crosses boundaries. When people just fall in love with a person, not a sex. Its been referred to as “Gay for You,” so much it makes me cringe. I hate that term, but it is what it is. On the other hand, I believe people are born sexual and society most times determines who we’re supposed to love. It always seems so taboo when a supposed straight man is attracted to another man and I love when love or attraction win. Anyway I digress. But I love reading those stories the most.
If you had a character you’ve written you would write differently now, at this time in your writing career, who would it be and why?
I don’t think I would change one single character of miner. Between you and me, all of my characters, at one time or another, have been criticized harshly. They are either too sweet, too mean, too nice, too handsome, too smart, too insecure, too cocky, etc. You get my drift. Every character strikes a cord with a reader for one reason or another in a negative or positive way, but each of my characters are who they are. They called to me and I wrote about them and that’s that.
Can an author have favorites among their characters and do you have them?
Wow! That’s a tough one. I LOVE all my characters but I connect more with the ones searching for something. For instance, “Losing Faith,” brings too characters together who are both searching for different things. But they help each other find what they need and find each other in the process. That to me is the ultimate. When I started that story I had no idea how it was going to end because I didn’t want it to be a cliché. I didn’t want them to fall in love because it had to be a novel with a HEA. I wanted them to either truly fall in love or become best of friends. Luckily for them, they fell in love and completed their worlds.
If you were to be stranded on a small demi-planet, island, or god forbid LaGuardia in a snow storm, what books would you take to read or authors on your comfort list?
It would sort of depend on where I was and my mood. If I were stuck at LaGuardia, I would be so royally pissed I’d read an SJD Peterson novel. She’s always so edgy and provides a good way to relieve frustration. If I were on a beautiful island or a planet, probably Maris Black. I especially loved “Owing Corey.”
How early in your life did you begin writing?
In my career I was the SVP of Marketing and Public Relations for a large publicly traded company based in Atlanta GA. In that job I wrote constantly. Marketing pieces, ads, commercials, annual reports, branding guidelines, etc. but I didn’t start writing fiction until about seven years ago. My husband Kell and own and Inn & Restaurant on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. We normally head south for the winters, but one particular winter we decided to stay. It was so boring and cold that I had to do something with a distraction. So I started writing a book. I always said everyone has on good book in them so why not write mine. It took the entire winter, but after I finished it I gave it to a couple friends to read and they both suggested I send it to a few publishers. I guess I was one of the lucky ones, because out of three publishers I chose, two wanted the book. I of course chose Dreamspinner Press, which is my only home and I’m thrilled to have them represent me.
Were you an early reader or were you read to and what childhood books had an impact on you as a child that you remember to this day and why?
I was a very late bloomer when it came to reading. As a kid I read what was absolutely required for school, but I was way more into music. With that said, the first book I can remember reading that stayed with me and still does is “The Scarlet Ibis,” by James Hurst. It is the tale of two brothers and written in first person by one of the brothers whose name is never mentioned, but only referred to as “Brother.” He recounts the life of he and his little brother who was nicknamed Doodle. Doodle was born very sickly and was never expected to live past infancy, or sit up or crawl or even walk for fear of his weak heart stopping. But he does. After one horrible scene the brothers bond and “Brother” vows to help Doodle be a normal kid. One day, a big red bird appears in their garden, looking sick and tired. The boys’ father identifies it as a scarlet ibis, a tropical bird that was blown off-course by a recent storm. When the bird dies, Doodle, pitying the creature, buries it. The story has been described as “rich in symbolism.” The Scarlet Ibis is the main symbol in the story, as is the color red and the ibis in comparison to “Doodle” as fragile yet majestic. The storm is often compared to Doodle’s brother because the brother pushed him too hard, much as the storm did with the scarlet ibis. In the end Doodle does not survive and “Brother” finds his lifeless body lying on the ground with blood flowing out of his mouth, staining his throat and shirt a brilliant red. Doodle died like the scarlet ibis: bloody red and far away from home. Recalling this story still send chills up and down my spine. If you haven’t read this book, please do.
Okay so you’ve read what makes me tick, so now tell me what makes you tick. If you’ve had an experience connecting with someone like Heath and Theo, tell me about in the form of a comment. If you do, you will be entered into a drawing to win any book from my backlist.
Now here’s an excerpt. Enjoy!
Theo and Heath met the crew in the formal dining room, where the chef had set up an appetizing spread. Theo had told Heath he’d requested a buffet because he didn’t want anyone serving anyone else tonight. There would be plenty of time for that later. Tonight was all about coming together as a crew, and Heath was pleased that Theo wanted everyone to be equal and on the same playing field.
When dinner was over, Theo brought everyone out onto the bow. He retrieved the two bottles of Dom from a canvas bag and handed the bag to Heath. From it, Heath handed everyone a champagne flute while Theo popped the top on one of the bottles. When everyone had a full glass of champagne, Theo dug into the bag and retrieved the other bottle.
“To a great journey, a great ship, and a great crew.” Theo looked at Heath. “To borrow a line from our very capable first officer, I wish us all fair winds and following seas. I hereby bring this ship and this crew together as one.”
Theo slammed the bottle against the hull, and everyone cheered and sipped their champagne. When things had settled a little bit, Heath knocked his pocketknife against his glass. Everyone quieted, and he spoke. “The Captain and I asked that you be in full dress uniforms tonight for this very special occasion, but let me assure you that unless we have guests on board, we will be a lot less formal.”
“Thank goodness,” Craig interrupted, pulling at his collar.
“Cliff?” Heath asked when all was quiet again. “Do you have that package I shipped?”
“Yes, sir. Right here.”
Heath looked at Theo, who seemed to be intrigued.
“I took the liberty of ordering some casual everyday attire for the crew.”
Heath ripped open the box and pulled out a pair of teal-green shorts and a white T-shirt that had Eternity running up and down the left front of the shirt.
Theo smiled and nodded. “Nice job.”
“There are various sizes for everyone,” Heath continued. “And Georgia, there are women’s sizes in there as well.”
“Thank you,” she replied.
“I want you all to look sharp every day, but more importantly, feel comfortable while doing it.”
The ship’s crew applauded, and Heath felt a blush coming on.
“I think it’s time for a few pictures.”
Theo positioned his iPhone on the bulwark, set the timer, and ran back and stood next to Heath, draping his arm over Heath’s shoulder. When the flash went off, Heath was smiling broadly, and he hoped the camera captured this very special moment.
Georgia stepped out of the group. “Okay, let me get a shot of our captain and first officer.”
The other crewmembers parted, and Theo and Heath were left standing side by side, Theo’s arm still hung loosely over Heath’s shoulder. Heath turned to Theo and their eyes met briefly. Both their smiles broadened. Theo held Heath’s gaze until Heath turned to the camera and Theo followed his lead.
It was very late. The ship was quiet, the celebration long over. But there was no sleep for Theo. Much to his chagrin, Heath was sleeping peacefully, his breaths steady and sure. The rhythmic sounds were familiar, soothing, and reassuring, but instead of luring him into slumber, they seemed to tease and taunt him.
He’d tossed and turned for the better part of two hours and had finally given up, resigned that it would indeed be a very long night. In the darkness of their cabin, Theo reached for his phone and brought up the camera roll of the evening’s pictures. He studied the pictures one by one, from the beginning of the evening to the end. His crew seemed genuinely happy and excited about their new adventure, and as he scrolled through them, he stopped and gasped. On his phone was a photo of him and Heath. They were standing very close to one another, and Theo’s arm was draped over Heath’s shoulder. They were gazing into each other’s eyes and smiling broadly.
Theo studied the picture for a long time. He remembered posing with Heath for a similar picture. The next shot was the one he remembered. He slid his finger back and stared at the other picture again. Georgia must have snapped this one before they were looking at the camera. And the look on Theo’s face as he gazed into Heath’s eyes was undeniable. He knew it, and anyone who looked at this photo would know it as well. The thing that caught his attention, even more than his expression, was the expression on Heath’s face. He was looking at Theo the same way. He could only describe it as adoringly, with an indisputable twinkle in his eye. Was it just first officer admiration of his captain, or was it more? It looked like more to Theo, but he might be wishing for something that just wasn’t there. Either way, he saved the photo to a private file and deleted it from his camera roll. This one he would keep.
About the Author
Scotty Cade left Corporate America and twenty-five years of Marketing and Public Relations behind to buy an Inn & Restaurant on the island of Martha’s Vineyard with his partner of over twenty years. He started writing stories as soon as he could read, but just five years ago for publication. When not at the Inn, you can find him on the bow of his boat writing gay romance novels with his Shetland sheepdog Mavis at his side. Being from the south and a lover of commitment and fidelity, all of his characters find their way to long healthy relationships, however long it takes them to get there. He believes that in the end, the boy should always get the boy.
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