Z.A. Maxfield on Writing Romance and her new release ‘Plummet to Soar’ (author guest blog, excerpt, and giveaway)

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Plummet To Soar (Plummet to Soar #1) by Z.A. Maxfield
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Art: L.C. Chase

Sales Link: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Z.A. Maxfield today on tour with Plummet To Soar, her latest release.  She’s brought an exclusive excerpt and giveaway for all our readers.  Enjoy.

♦︎

Hi, I’m Z.A. Maxfield! Thanks again for inviting me to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words to share my thoughts and talk about my latest book, Plummet to Soar!

I’m not sure I’ve ever been asked why I write. I’m often asked how I get my ideas or what my process is. How to get over writer’s block (I refuse to believe in it) and burnout (I failed to recognize it, until it was almost too late to save myself.)

But right now, I can’t remember anyone specifically asking why I write. Let me just put this out there — I write to change the world.

Maybe that sounds super-grandiose, but we’re supposed to aim for the moon, right? So we might fall among the stars…

When I was in college, I saw the film, “My Beautiful Launderette.” The story was different, and sexy and positive, even though life was so precarious for the characters. I found that story immensely compelling. I wanted the love affair to work out so badly my heart just ached for it. I looked for more stories like it, and was unable to find many books where LBGT characters got a happily-ever-after. Possibly, I didn’t know where to look, as there was no Amazon, or search engine optimization back then. I found–maybe–twenty that fit the criteria.

The lack of romance featuring LGBT protagonists still bothered me when I started writing for publication. I can’t say why, because I had no skin in the game. I lived in a traditional heterosexual marriage and my children were too young to date. It just seemed so stupidly unfair. Thirty years later, that feeling of isolation was still on my mind. What must that be like, I wondered…

God, was I ever naïve. I had no concept of my privilege. I had no idea what own voices, or diversity, or inclusion, or marginalized meant. I only wondered how it would feel to be a queer kid, looking for a book with a queer protagonist, where queer people can find love and don’t end up in a mental institution or dead.

Stories teach us, they comfort us, they take us places that would be impossible to visit without them. They give us whole new worlds to enjoy. They inform and interact with society in unexpected ways. They allow us to meet people we don’t know and get used to ideas we haven’t grown up with. Stories creep over the walls people put up between each other because human emotion is universal. Whether we’ve experienced something or not, a skilled author can create strong, unforgettable, and transformative emotions. That’s what I want to be, when I grow up. Who knows! I’m fifty-seven and it could happen any day now! 😀

Not all my ideas are awesome but fortunately, there are a geshmillion other writers out there trying to change the world with me. I am not alone in my endeavors. Whew!

But since you asked, I write because I believe people are more alike than they are different. I write because I believe that people are basically good. And I hope you’ll join with me and help change the world by telling your stories. Because the more often we strive for a world of peace, of plenty, of fairness, and kindness and decency, the more likely that world will become a reality.

Neil Gaimon said, “Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”

 

 

Book Blurb:

Feckless, luckless, and charming, Mackenzie Detweiler is the author of a self-help book one reviewer calls “the most misbegotten motivational tool since Mein Kampf.” He’s maneuvered himself into a career as a life coach, but more often than not, his advice is bad. Really bad.

It’s even getting people hurt… and Mackenzie sued.

It falls to Mackenzie’s long-suffering editor, JD Chambers, to deliver the bad news. He chooses to do so face-to-face—to see if the spark he senses between them is real when they’re together in the flesh. Unfortunately, a snowstorm, a case of nerves, a case of mistaken identity, and finally a murder get in the way of a potential enemies-to-lovers romance.

There are many, many people who have good reason to want Mackenzie dead. JD must find out which one is acting on it before it’s too late for both of them.

Excerpt

Despite the white noise generated by the heater and the hum of someone’s television, silence threatened to overwhelm JD after Mac left. The room was nice—super-dated decor, traditional furniture. The linens, though, had that “international chain hotel” look—white on white with a colorful runner and fancy round bolsters to go with ample standard-size lumps for sleeping on. And right next door, lying on his back, among all those many pillows….

JD,

You can call me anything you want. You contracted the book, man. People have called me everything—Mac, Mackenzie, Z, and shit-for-brains.

I’ve never let anyone call me Kenzie.

Mac

Why’s that? Breathlessly curious about the odd new writer—the goofball his colleagues laughed at and jokingly called Humpty Dumbass behind his back—he switched to text.

Mac texted back, Dunno. I think I’ve been saving that one for someone who loves me.

JD thumbed, I love being inside your head during the journal entries. A long hesitation. Oh, God, was that too much? He always gave away too much, goddammit. He typed like lightning—I mean that’s how I felt when I first read it. I love these ideas, finding resilience. It resonates with me in a way I can’t really explain. I loved being in your head, reading words as you thought them. Wrote them.

My book is me, distilled. Maximum me. Call me Kenzie.

Like whisky, the words, the book, the man went to his head. All right, then, Kenzie.

JD loved their secret nicknames, loved knowing what it meant. He connected with Kenzie daily, over the minutiae of publishing his book and well beyond that, into late-night emails and intimate text conversations about the meaning of life. But while he coyly obscured all but a few details and kept his face, even his voice, hidden for no reason but his fear that if he broke the fantasy, he’d lose it, Kenzie was transparent. Since Kenzie Detweiler had become the single most important thing in his life, and since JD had nothing in his life to compare the experience to, he was ill equipped to handle such a thing.

Kenzie was made of minutiae, it turned out. He’d spent endless, generous time explaining how he saw the world and why he saw it that way and what it all meant.

Chambers Lighthouse Publishing published books by authors with whom JD had never spoken a single word. His name was on the door, but he had people for interacting with the authors. But the Lamplight line was his sole purview. He was its acquisitions editor and its executive editor.

Lamplight, started by his grandfather, put out almanacs, books of prayerful sentiment, and the journals of thoughtful, barely known but highly influential men. He’d kept his output to three or four titles per year. The authors were thought-provoking but never controversial—Norman Mailer and Truman Capote and Joan Didion need not apply.

His father changed all that, publishing astonishingly sexy memoirs and books by people who really set society’s hair on fire, becoming the enfant terrible of the legacy publishing world for about five minutes. And now, no matter how many pairs he tried, JD could fill neither man’s two-tone, lace-up, wing-tipped oxfords. Shortly after he took over, he vowed to publish books he liked, and people called him sir, or Mr. Chambers, or they got out of his way.

But not Kenzie, who called him JD.

Somewhere between the contract and the first marketing campaign, Douglas—oh, who was he kidding with the fake name and this ridiculous trip—Jacob Douglas Chambers IV—fell in love.

That Kenzie didn’t know who he was? Was both a godsend and a curse. A godsend because he could choose the perfect time for The Big Reveal, and a curse because if he was wrong about this? There was no perfect time.

He really expected Kenzie to know him. That was the thing. He told Kenzie that he was allergic to cameras, but who stops there? There were exactly five pictures of him online. One in a morning coat, top hat, and tails at a wedding, even. JD could have told Kenzie who he was at any time.

Why hadn’t he?

He’d foreseen the moment for so long. What was he protecting himself from? He’d developed a deep, unhealthy emotional attachment to the man who was taking a shower—if the running water was anything to go by—in the room adjacent. There was a gap under the connecting door, and every sound was amplified through it.

Kenzie, singing “Despacito.” The sexy slap of water on the tub floor. He didn’t dare take his imagination further than that. He’d believed in Mackenzie Detweiler, trusted his words, his thoughts, his heart.

And it seemed as though he’d been deluded, along with all the other saps who bought Mackenzie Detweiler’s spiel. But maybe that wasn’t fair, because even tonight, even in pain from an injury he got—not while following Kenzie’s very well-meaning advice, but Kenzie didn’t know that—right up until the moment he’d seen Kenzie face-to-face, JD wanted to believe that what they had was foreordained or somehow magical—celestial.

He wanted to believe there was some sort of there… there.

I’d ask your definition of freedom.

Kenzie always had a comeback. There was another reason not to get sucked into the happy complacency of letting someone else do his thinking for him. JD had tasted the Kool-Aid, siphoned a little to see how it felt, and then guzzled it. And when the unthinkable happened, and the scythe came too close to miss him, he didn’t have the revelations he’d been promised. He simply felt… pissed.

Yes. That was it. Pissed, because in no way did he believe Mac lied in the book. In Mac’s case a near-death experience solidified who he was. He seemed happy. Fulfilled and content. His weird personality traits and his inchoate yearnings had incubated—hatched into someone fierce and proud and unfailingly kind. JD would stake his life on the fact that Kenzie was legitimately happy.

JD was pissed because he felt goddamn nothing.

Stupid for hoping that, if he embraced the worst, his fears would go away.

Stupid for asking for more than he had when he was arguably the richest, luckiest person he knew.

Stupid for trying out any advice he got from a dumbass like Mac, who had turned out to be just another fucked-up human being after all—even if he was a delightful one.

They were all lucky no one had gotten killed. Yet.

Everyone from editorial to corporate had put in a word. Plummet was going to be pulled off the shelves the following Monday. Press releases had been written. Lawyers were on standby. And he had to tell Mac about that too.

Sorry. I’m the man you trusted with your career, and I’m here to pull the rug out.

It wasn’t right to keep it from him. Years back, they’d pulled a book on canning while the author reworked the section on food safety. Those things happened. But they wouldn’t offer Mac a chance to rewrite and rerelease. The ideas JD had embraced so fully only alarmed them after his ludicrous brush with death, though it had nothing to do with the book.

No. The board didn’t want anything to do with Mac anymore.

JD had argued at first. Thrown his weight around. What happened to him didn’t result from Plummet to Soar. All he’d done was attend a contentious co-op board meeting. Those were a bore but not normally dangerous. It wasn’t like he’d run with the bulls in Pamplona. No one could have foreseen his ex catching him in the parking garage alone.

JD absently rubbed his knee. And why, when his leg was broken on one side, did the other knee hurt so much? JD made a mental note to call his doctor and find out.

His eyes snapped open when the water shut off. From the other side of the door came the sound of more humming and rustling noises. Curiosity was killing JD truly. Killing him.

How did connecting doors in hotels work, anyway? Were there two doors or just one? It seemed kinda old-school—a knob, a dead bolt.

Is the lock engaged?

As though it heated before his eyes, the lock seemed to glow with some inner fire. The knob was the only thing he could focus on. God, his leg hurt. The buzz from the flight, from the bar, was fading. If he took a pain pill, it would knock him out too hard.

JD laid his cheek against the door and put his hand on the knob. Nope. Nope, Nope. Nope. The door between their rooms felt cool. He let go of the knob, as though it would brand him, but that was just more melodramatic bullshit. He could hear his mother’s voice telling him to get a grip on himself. Which, really, anyone who ever met him would have known that having a grip on himself was part of the goddamn problem.

Try the door.

It was almost as though the door were talking to him—or was that wishful thinking?

He wanted to try it anyway, and what was it they said about confirmation bias? You generally fall in with the data that supports what you already believe?

No. It wasn’t all a scam.

The doorknob turned in his hand. The door opened in his direction. He had to step back to get out of its way. And then he was standing there, staring at Kenzie Detweiler, who wore nothing but a towel.

 

About the Author

 

Z. A. Maxfield started writing in 2007 on a dare from her children and never looked back.  Pathologically disorganized, and perennially optimistic, she writes as much as she can, reads as much as she dares, and enjoys her time with family and friends. Three things reverberate throughout all her stories: Unconditional love, redemption, and the belief that miracles happen when we least expect them.

If anyone asks her how a wife and mother of four can find time for a writing career, she’ll answer, “It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you give up housework.”

Readers can visit ZAM at her Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Amazon

Links:

Website: http://www.zamaxfield.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorZ.A.Maxfield
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/ZAMaxfield

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/zamaxfield/?hl=en
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2738500.Z_A_Maxfield

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2fVPEzw

Giveaway: Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

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Love A Wonderful Supernatural Romance? Check Out Tara Lain’s “Spell Cat” (Excerpt and Giveaway)

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Spell Cat
by Tara Lain 
 
Blurb:
When Killian Barth, history professor, meets Blaine Genneau, quantum physicist, they ignite their own big bang. But Killian can’t pursue a physics professor—or a human. As the most powerful male witch in ten generations, Killian must bolster his dying race by reproducing—despite the fact that he’s gay.
Even a fling with Blaine is out of the question, because Killian has been told sex with humans drains his power. But if that’s true, why can young human Jimmy Janx dissolve spoons with the power of his mind? If Killian can sort through the lies he’s been fed, he’ll still face his biggest obstacle — convincing rational scientist Blaine to believe in magic.
With his ancient and powerful cat familiar, Aloysius, on his shoulder, Killian brings the lightning against deceit and greed to save Blaine from danger and prove love is the greatest power of them all.
(Don’t forget to check out Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words’s Review Here…Its a Recommended Read!
Available for purchase at
            

 

Also available in paperback
Excerpt

Blaine was standing at the end of the counter a few feet away, staring at Killian.

How long could a witch live with his heart stopped?

Oh gods. He understood. Heat. The way he felt this moment dwarfed every emotion he’d had with Moran by a thousand. A million. The chasm between indifference and… passion. His heart beat fast, his breath caught in his chest, and his eyes never wanted to look on another sight, just Blaine.

He ought to run, but whether away or straight to Blaine, he wasn’t sure.

“Mrwar.”

Blaine seemed to catch the welcome in that meow. He smiled and took a step closer. “Hi, Al. Good to see you, buddy.”

Aloysius unwrapped himself from Killian’s neck, did one bound off the tabletop, and launched himself into Blaine’s waiting arms. Oh Powers, would that Killian could do the same. He actually had to hold himself still, or he knew he’d follow the cat.

Blaine petted Al as the cat did his imitation of a moving fur coat, purring so loudly Killian could hear him, even a few feet away. “You seem happy to see me, anyway.” He looked up. “Are you happy to see me, Killian?”

Killian nodded. Correction—his head nodded. He had no power over it.

Blaine walked even closer. “Could I have lunch with you? Talk to you?”

The head nodded again.

The human slipped into the chair beside Killian. Sweet Powers, he smelled so wonderful. That sweet and spice together.

“This sure is one great cat. Where did you get him?”

Killian cleared his throat. “Gift, uh, a gift from my mother.”

Blaine chucked Al under the chin, and the cat let him. “My mother hates cats.” He looked up, and Killian swam into the pools of deep green. “Of course, my mother hates me, so she’s not likely to give me the time of day, much less a pet.”

“Surely not.”

He grinned. “That she hates me? Oh yeah. I keep defying her by choosing to be gay when her preacher has clearly cleansed me of this delusion at least ten times, so she washed her hands of me.”

“But you didn’t choose—Oh, you’re joking.”

Blaine’s grin faded. “I wish it were a joke. Then a lot of beaten-up, confused kids would have parents who loved and understood them.”

There were worse things than having a manipulative witch for a mother. “I’m so sorry, Blaine. I didn’t mean it like that.”

Blaine smiled. “I never thought you were making fun. I just have a weird sense of humor sometimes.”

Then he did it. He put his hand on Killian’s arm. Such a simple gesture. Flash! Heat blazed in Killian’s head, and hot steel filled his cock. Blaine started and pulled his hand away. Those green eyes widened, and he stared at Killian like he was either the answer to a dream or a cobra, and Blaine wasn’t sure which. “Holy shit!”

Killian tried to make sense of his brain synapses and grasped at the first thought. “Uh, food—did you want food?”

Blaine leaned over and whispered in his ear. “I want to eat with you and talk to you and sleep with you and take you home with me. But right now I want to make love to you so badly I’m having trouble focusing.”

There was that head nod again. Where the fuck did that come from?

“Does that mean you want to make love to me too?”

Killian stared at Blaine, the human physics professor whose simplest touch could drain a witch’s power until his own mother didn’t know him and his people couldn’t benefit from his great sperm and—and all that dogma. The answer was yes. He did want to make love to Blaine. He wanted it more than anything. The evil witch voice piped up in his head. Yep, these humans are tempting. That’s how the witch race got so depleted. He was the strongest male witch in ten generations. That had to be worth something. He’d never had a really satisfying relationship with a man, even for a short time. He wanted one. Didn’t he deserve just a little happiness before he gave his life for his people? He’d tried it the right way, the witch-stamp-of-approval way, and nearly got his back broken for his trouble.

Blaine was staring at Killian like he was in suspended animation; only the fingertips that scratched Al’s head moved. There. That was it. Blaine had the best possible credentials. Aloysius, who was no dumb cat, adored the human… and so did Killian. Just that simple. He didn’t care if he rotted in witch oblivion, or if he lost some of his fabled power. How much damage could he do in such a little while? “Yes.”

Blaine came to life. “Excuse me?”

“Yes. Please take me home with you.” He swallowed. “And all those other things.”

Blaine’s smile lit like a midwinter bonfire.

“Mwrarrrrr, mrrrrrwarrrr, mrrrrwarrrr.”

The bloody cat was singing while he slithered around Blaine’s neck in some happy dance known only to strange and powerful blue-eyed familiars.

 

 

 

About the Author

 

Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 32. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Paranormal Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft.  She lives with her soul-mate husband and her soul-mate dog near the sea in California where she sets a lot of her books.  Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!

 

You can find Tara at Lain

               



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Its a Cover Reveal Blitz for ‘A Second Harvest’ by Eli Easton (cover reveal, excerpt and giveaway)

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A Second Harvest
By Eli Easton
 
Blurb: 
David Fisher has lived by the rules all his life. Born to a Mennonite family, he obeyed his father and took over the family farm, married, and had two children. Now with his kids both in college and his wife deceased, he runs his farm alone and without joy, counting off the days of a life half lived.
Christie Landon, graphic designer, Manhattanite, and fierce gay party boy, needs a change. Now thirty, he figures it’s time to grow up and think about his future. When his best friend overdoses, Christie resolves to take a break from the city. He heads to a small house in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, to rest, recoup, and reflect.
But life in the country is boring, despite glimpses of the hunky silver fox next door. When Christie’s creativity latches on to cooking, he decides to approach his widower neighbor with a plan to share meals and grocery expenses. David agrees, and soon the odd couple find they really enjoy spending time together.
Christie challenges the boundaries of David’s closed world and brings out feelings he buried long ago. If he can break free of the past, he might find a second chance at happiness.
Release Date: 
July 1, 2016

 

Pre-order the paperback here
Excerpt

 

It was Saturday and the idea of doing more cleaning held little appeal. What else did he have to do with himself? Nothing. The temptation to go into Lancaster or Harrisburg was there, to seek out a gay bar, or even get on Grindr. Gay men had to exist out here. But… that wasn’t why he moved here. He came here to get away from all that for a little while.

His mind made up, he went to the grocery store in town with a long list. It was a big-chain grocery store, and he was pleased to find nearly everything he needed. The October day was bright with crisp leaves and a blue sky. When he got back home with his sacks of goodies, it was still early afternoon. He opened the windows in the kitchen—struggling against the one over the sink that stuck—turned up the music on his iPhone, and started dancing around, organizing his supplies and digging out pots and pans.

He made the curried carrot ginger soup, a lovely dish with fresh peas, green onion, and radishes, some savory cheese-and-herb swirled biscuits, and a basic herb-roasted chicken. He truly did love to cook, though the past few years, it never seemed worth the effort. There were so many great takeout places in the East Village. Plus Kyle was such a picky eater. He basically ate pizza and stripped-down salads, and that was it.

It occurred to Christie while he was prepping this meal that it was going to be a beautiful repast, and it was a shame he didn’t have anyone to share it with. He could freeze some of it, but it wouldn’t be the same. He thought of David next door, living alone, and of his TV dinner. Would that be weird? That would be weird, right?

Pushing it from his mind, Christie spent the rest of the afternoon jamming to tunes in the kitchen and working his way through the recipes, having fun and dancing in his stocking feet.

When everything was ready, Christie decided the meal deserved some pomp and circumstance. His aunt had a drawer of tablecloths, but they were not quite his style. He used a white linen towel for a place mat and put each dish on the table in the best china dishes he could find. He used a red cut glass for his water and lit a candle in an old silver candlestick he found in the cupboard.

He looked at the table and chewed his lip. Everything looked beautiful. It smelled amazing too. He sucked some chicken juice from his thumb—yum. It almost seemed like a waste to eat it. He wished someone were here to share the meal with him. Anyone, really. The idea he’d avoided thinking about while cooking poked its head out again.

Well. He’d never been exactly shy. If he was going to do this, he had to do it quickly. The food was getting cold.

With a nervous shake of his head, Christie decided. He cut the roast chicken in half and put it on a large plate with a little bit of everything else, covered it with aluminum foil, and ran out the back door.

He hadn’t been to the Fisher’s farm before, and it turned out to be a longer trip down the gravel lane than he anticipated, maybe a quarter mile. He kept up a jog, worried about the food getting ruined. Between that and his nerves, he had a fine sheen of sweat when he got there.

David’s farm was beautiful. The white barn Christie had seen from a distance was huge and picturesque. It made Christie’s fingers itch to draw it. The farmhouse was fieldstone with black shutters. Electric candles in the windows gave it a cozy Colonial air and made Christie realize how dark it was getting outside. Why hadn’t he grabbed his coat? It was fucking freezing. He was an idiot—a shivering idiot at the moment.

Determined to drop off his gift without further delay, he marched to the back door and firmly knocked.

Enthusiastic barking commenced. More than one dog—two or three. Christie felt a little nervous. He liked dogs, but these farm dogs might be territorial. And he was holding a plate of chicken. He might as well have bathed in bacon grease.

A deep voice silenced the dogs and the door opened. David’s face looked stern and worn for a moment, but when he recognized Christie, a smile softened it. “Oh, hi.”

“Hi. Sorry to bother you, but I spent the day cooking, and I made all this food. No way can I eat it all, so I thought I’d bring you a plate. You know, to make up for causing you to burn your dinner the other day, fixing my smoke detector and all.” God, he was overdoing it! Shut up, Christie.

“Oh.” David looked surprised. He glanced at the foil-covered plate in Christie’s hand. “You didn’t have to do that.”

“I was bored.” Christie’s shrug turned into a shiver. He held out the plate. His mouth was dry. He was starting to wish he hadn’t done this.

There was a reserve about David, a way he kept himself at arm’s length. Christie sensed that when David stopped by his house, but he put it down to the fact they were strangers. The vibe was stronger here, on David’s turf. Christie felt like an intruder standing at the back door. David was looking at the plate with an unreadable expression. Please just take it.

Then the wind shifted and a delicious aroma billowed up. David’s face grew curious. “Roast chicken?”

“Yeah. It was from a Thanksgiving magazine. I made some sides too.”

Suddenly David moved. “Heck, you must be freezing. Come inside.”

“Thanks. I can’t stay. I just wanted to drop this off.” But Christie was stepping inside as he spoke, welcoming any relief from the cold air.

“River. Tonga. Sit.” David shut the door. The dogs sat obediently. One was a golden retriever and the other a large furry black mix of some kind.

“Tonga?” Christie asked.

“It’s an island,” David said with an adorably bashful duck of his head. He took the plate from Christie and raised the foil, looked at it, and smelled. “This looks really good. You made this?”

“Sure. I just followed the recipes.” But David’s words made Christie feel infinitely better about bringing it by. “Well. I’ll leave you to eat it before it gets cold. I have mine back at the house.”

“Thanks. It beats the heck out of frozen food.” David sounded sincere. He put the plate on the counter. “Hang on.” He opened up an accordion door in the hall, revealing an overstuffed closet with a collection of coats, hats, and shoes. He selected a black woolen pea coat with large buttons and pulled it out. “You’re going to freeze to death.”

“It was stupid not to wear my coat. I didn’t realize it was so far over here.”

David got an amused smile, but he wasn’t looking directly into Christie’s eyes, so he still seemed uncomfortable. Instead of handing Christie the coat, though, he held it open and moved behind Christie.

Christie blinked. He couldn’t remember the last time anyone had helped him into a coat. He held back his arms and let David slip the coat onto him. It fit in the shoulders okay, but it was big around the waist and hips. David turned Christie in a matter-of-fact way and started doing up the buttons.

Christie’s eyes widened, and he swallowed hard. What the hell? Did David think he was a child? But there was something titillating about being taken care of, or maybe it was David’s proximity, his handsome face focused on his task, his rough hands so close to Christie’s body.

Yes, it was definitely the proximity. Wow, David was a good-looking man. Who knew rugged could be so hot? And to think of all the money Christie had spent on grooming!

There were only five buttons, and when David finished the last of them, just below Christie’s chin, he looked up and saw Christie’s face. He suddenly blushed, his nose and cheeks going red. He dropped his hands and took a step back. “Sorry. That was… sorry.”

“I didn’t mind.” Oh God, Christie’s voice had dropped in register and sounded rumbly to his own ears. That was a smexy voice! What the hell was he doing? “Um… thanks for the jacket, David. I’ll bring it back later.”

“No hurry.” David was avoiding his gaze again.

Christie yanked the door open, escaped the house with a silly little wave, and walked fast back to his aunt’s place.

Once inside he found his own food was only tepidly warm, but still flavorful and delicious. The herb glaze on the chicken was to die for, and it went beautifully with the floury-cheesy biscuits and the curried soup. He hoped David liked it too.

He kept the coat on while he ate, snuggling into the fabric and holding the collar close under his chin. It smelled of earth and hay, a slight trace of motor oil, and the smell of a working man—piney, sweaty, and altogether appealing.

He remained in the coat all through dinner. But only because he was cold.

About The Author

Having been, at various times and under different names, a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, a game designer, the author of paranormal mysteries, a fan fiction writer, an organic farmer and a profound sleeper, Eli is happily embarking on yet another incarnation as a m/m romance author.

As an avid reader of such, she is tinkled pink when an author manages to combine literary merit, vast stores of humor, melting hotness and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story.  She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time.  She currently lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her husband, three bulldogs, three cows and six chickens.  All of them (except for the husband) are female, hence explaining the naked men that have taken up residence in her latest fiction writing.

You can find Eli at
         
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