Love Contemporary MM Romance? Start Your Shopping Early! Two Robert Winter Novels on Sale! (giveaway)

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Don’t wait until Black Friday to take advantage of holiday savings!
Start your shopping early with this great sale on two amazing books.
The sooner you buy, the more you save!

Amazon US

November 17, 2018 at 8:00 AM (PST) $0.99

November 18, 2018 at 9:00 PM (PST) $1.99

November 20, 2018 at 10:00 AM (PST) $2.99

Amazon UK

November 17, 2018 at 8:00 PM (GMT) £0.99

November 19, 2018 at 8:00 AM (GMT) £1.99

Sale ends on November 22nd

Books Sold Separately

Title: September
Series: Pride and Joy #1
Author: Robert Winter
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Original Release Date: Dec 9, 2016
Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 304 Pages
Genre: Romance, May-December, Contemporary, Provincetown, Washington DC

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Synopsis

David James is smart, successful, handsome… and alone. After the death of his lover, Kyle, from cancer, he buried himself in his law practice and the gym. At forty-eight, he is haunted by his memories and walled off from the world. When David injures himself working out, he’s assigned to Brandon Smith for physical therapy. The vibrant young therapist is attracted to David and realizes he needs a hand to get back into dating. What begins as a practice coffee date escalates to friendship, passion, and maybe something more, as they navigate a new relationship in Washington, DC, and the gay mecca of Provincetown.

But David remains trapped behind the barrier of fear and guilt. Will he remain loyal to Kyle’s memory if he moves on? Can he and Brandon manage a twenty-two-year age gap? Brandon thinks he understands David’s concerns, and for him, the answer to those questions is yes. He wants to be with David, and he believes he can overcome David’s barriers. But Brandon fails to account for the world’s reaction to a handsome young man attached to an older, wealthy lover.

David’s memories, Brandon’s pride, and an unexpected tragedy might cost them something very special…

Purchase at Amazon

Title: Every Breath You Take
Author: Robert Winter
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: May 5, 2017
Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 221 pages
Genre: Romance, Thriller/Suspense

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Synopsis

When Zachary Hall leaves Utah for a job in Washington, it’s finally his chance to live as a gay man and maybe find someone special. In a bar he meets Thomas Scarborough, a man who seems perfect in and out of the bedroom. But Thomas never dates. He never even sleeps with the same man twice. Despite their instant connection, he can offer Zachary only his friendship, and Zachary is looking for more.

Thomas is tempted to break his own rules, but years before, he became the victim of a stalker who nearly destroyed his life. Even though his stalker died, Thomas obsessively keeps others at a distance. Despite his fascination with Zachary, he is unable to lower his barriers. Frustrated, Zachary accepts he will never have what he wants with Thomas and soon finds it with another man.

But young gay men in Washington, DC are being murdered, and the victims all have a connection to Thomas. Once again someone is watching Thomas’s every move. Can it be a coincidence? When the depraved killer turns his attention toward Zachary, Thomas must face the demons of his past—or lose his chance to open his heart to Zachary forever.

Purchase at Amazon

Meet the Author

Robert Winter is a Rainbow Award-winning author who lives and writes in Provincetown. He is a recovering lawyer who prefers writing about hot men in love much more than drafting a legal brief. He left behind the (allegedly) glamorous world of an international law firm to sit in his home office and dream up ways to torment his characters until they realize they are perfect for each other. When he isn’t writing, Robert likes to cook Indian food and explore new restaurants. He splits his attention between Andy, his partner of seventeen years, and Ling the Adventure Cat, who likes to fly in airplanes and explore the backyard jungle as long as the temperature and humidity are just right.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | eMail

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Robert Winter on his favorite holiday cartoons and his novel ‘Vampire Clause’ (author guest post, excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  Vampire Claus

Author: Robert Winter

Publisher:  Robert Winter Books

Release Date: November 15, 2017

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 30,000 words

Genre: Romance, Christmas vampire novella

Add to Goodreads

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Robert Winter here today talking about his new story Vampire Claus and some of his favorite holiday cartoons.  Welcome, Robert!

Thanks for hosting me today. Vampire Claus is a departure from the contemporary romances I’ve done so far. My book starts on Christmas Eve with the vampire Taviano melancholy as he recalls his childhood traditions from Naples. As I wrote, I played Christmas carols and thought about my favorite childhood memories of Christmas. Most of them have to do with all those great cartoons that, I think, still run every year. I would watch them with a Swanson’s TV dinner and a Hostess fruit pie for dessert. This is a list of five favorite Christmas cartoons. (No copyright claimed in any of the images used here.)

A Charlie Brown Christmas – Even now, the sad sack Charlie Brown trying to direct a Christmas play cracks me up. When Charlie brings in the pathetic little tree no one else appreciates, my heart would break. Linus’s speech at the end may be a little on the nose, but it worked on me as a kid.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas – “You’re a mean one, Mister Grinch.” The movie with Jim Carrey did nothing for me, because I don’t know how you can improve on the cartoon. Boris Karloff as narrator, Chuck Jones directing the animation, and the song! Total win.

The Year Without a Santa Claus  – Cold Miser and Heat Miser were as much fun as Shirley Booth’s Mrs. Claus. I went to DragonCon this year in Atlanta and found some cosplayers of the same mindset!

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer – probably the earliest version of “It Gets Better”. The island of misfit toys was a great metaphor for anyone who felt out of the mainstream. Sure, Hermie earned his father’s disapproval when he said he wanted to be a dentist, but we know what he really meant – he was gay! And don’t forget Yukon Cornelius, the original lumbersexual.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town – because Fred Astaire. It’s a fun origin story for Santa Claus anyway, but it’s the narrator I wanted to see. I always had a little crush on Fred for his debonair ways and elegance. Fun fact – my very first job out of college was as a dance instructor for Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Austin, Texas. The two things are totally unrelated. Shut up.

So that’s my five favorites. I’d love to hear in the Comments about yours!

Synopsis

’Twas the night before Christmas, but what’s stirring is a little more dangerous than a mouse.

Taviano is nearly two hundred years old and never wakes in the same place twice. Weary and jaded, the vampire still indulges in memories of childhood Christmases in Naples. He lingers in shadow, spying on mortals as they enjoy the holiday.

When Taviano spots a handsome young man in Boston loaded down with presents and about to be mugged, he can’t help but intervene. Soon he’s talking to joyous, naïve, strong-willed and funny Paul, a short-order cook who raised funds to buy Christmas presents for LGBTQ children. Before he knows what’s happened, Taviano is wrapped up in Paul’s arms and then in his schemes to get the presents delivered by Christmas morning.

A vampire turned into a Christmas elf… What could go wrong?

Vampire Claus is a 30,000-word standalone gay romance about a lonely vampire and a fearless mortal with no instinct for self-preservation. A heartwarming ending, no cliffhanger, and a young man who discovers he has a thing for fangs. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about?

Excerpt

Paul’s apartment was indeed small, a studio with exposed brick walls and two white-cased windows. Through them Taviano could see a fire escape and then, across the street, a tiled roof. The latch on the right window had broken. Foolish man, he thought as he watched Paul hop on one foot to take off a boot. Let a monster in the front door. Invite a robber through the window. How are you still alive?

He surveyed the rest of Paul’s home. An open door revealed a small bathroom. The opposite wall contained a two-burner stove, a sink, and a half-sized refrigerator. A wooden café table sat with two mismatched chairs. A futon couch along another wall likely served as Paul’s bed.

Next to it was a milk crate on which sat a tiny Christmas tree, wrapped in blue and yellow lights. A few small ornaments dangled from its boughs, though no presents rested underneath. That struck Taviano as sad, given the work Paul had gone through to gather gifts for the homeless youths.

A distinct combination of smells tickled his nose from the area of the futon. Besides Paul’s unique scent there were echoes of other men. Different colognes or bathing products. Latex, foil, something oily, and then…

Taviano turned away as he identified traces of semen. The turmoil in his chest that the evidence of Paul’s life produced disturbed him. If he could blush, he would.

Paul finished with his boots and socks and tugged off his bloodied T-shirt. Tossing the garments in a heap on the floor, he strode to the sink. Dressed only in low-slung corduroys, he turned on the faucet and began to scrub away dried blood on his shoulder and palm.

Taviano took in the sight of lean muscle, flexing under pale skin as Paul washed. That skin reminded him of cream. A tattoo of a tree adorned Paul’s back. Its delicately drawn branches spread to his shoulders. The twisted and sturdy trunk disappeared into the mistletoe-themed boxers resting low on his hips. One side of the tree showed a splintered stump, as if someone had wrenched off a branch.

Although curious about the imagery, Taviano wondered more how that inked skin would feel under his lips. Then he wondered why he wondered. His demon’s hunger for blood drove him for such long years. He’d all but forgotten what it was like to hunger for touch.

Year after year, he hunted with a singular purpose, among people useful to him only as food. Yet he found himself imagining what it would be like to draw Paul against his body. The warmth would be delicious. Soothing. It reminded Taviano of the difference between appetite and attraction. He found the thought both sobering and exciting.

Twice, many decades ago, and before he began to hunt exclusively among villains, he’d given in to curiosity. He’d caressed a willing man with his sensitive fingertips, and even allowed him to stroke Taviano with lust. Both times, the sensation was too intense to be pleasurable. It had been like dragging woolen cloth over a sunburn.

Neither encounter had smelled like Paul, though. Would the taste of his skin be as unique as his scent? Would his body be warm and welcoming? Why should just one man out of the multitudes he’d encountered draw him so profoundly and calm his demon? If he touched Paul once, Taviano wasn’t sure he’d want to stop.

Paul turned from the sink to grab a hand towel and caught Taviano staring at him. Another tattoo, of a sun rising above a mountain range, sprawled down his left pectoral. He stilled but made no effort to cover his hair-dusted and spare torso.

Instead he stood silently as Taviano studied him. His eyes caressed the alabaster planes of Paul’s chest, the sinewy shoulders and elegantly tapered arms. He admired the tight skin at Paul’s stomach, the tracing of fine hair that disappeared down into his boxers. Paul began to breathe more heavily under the scrutiny and his pants tented outward. Taviano smelled arousal and it echoed in his own belly.

Finally Paul swiped the cloth against his shoulder and dried his hands while holding Taviano’s eyes. He licked his lips and flushed. In a slightly hoarse voice, he asked, “Did I get it all?”

As if drawn by a magnet, Taviano stepped closer, hearing Paul’s heart beat faster at his approach. His body glistened in the dim light of the room. Taviano sensed no fear as he took another step and peered at Paul’s shoulder. He brushed trembling fingertips over clean white skin and murmured, “It looks perfect.”

Thankfully his face couldn’t blush and his heart couldn’t pound; he was sure he’d be a sight to behold otherwise. The desire to touch, to stroke, was difficult to hide, from Paul and from himself. Paul stood mere inches away. His coursing, rich blood generated warmth that called to Taviano. For once, it had nothing to do with his demon’s clamor for food.

Purchase

Robert Winter Books | Amazon Universal | Amazon AU

Meet the Author

Robert Winter lives and writes in Provincetown, Massachusetts. He is a recovering lawyer who prefers writing about hot men in love much more than drafting a legal brief. He left behind the (allegedly) glamorous world of an international law firm to sit in his home office and dream up ways to torment his characters until they realize they are perfect for each other. When he isn’t writing, Robert likes to cook Indian food and explore new restaurants. He splits his attention between Andy, his partner of sixteen years, and Ling the Adventure Cat, who likes to fly in airplanes and explore the backyard jungle as long as the temperature and humidity are just right.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | eMail | Instagram

 

Tour Schedule

11/16 Joyfully Jay

11/17 Love Bytes

11/18 Bayou Book Junkie

11/19 Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

11/20 It’s About the Book

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Release Day Blitz for Lying Eyes by Robert Winter (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  Lying Eyes

Author: Robert Winter

Publisher:  Robert Winter Books (self-published)

Release Date: July 7, 2017

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 84300

Genre: Romance, Mystery, BDSM

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

This bartender’s art lies in more than mixing drinks …

Randy Vaughan is a six-foot-three mass of mysteries to his customers and his friends. Why does a former Secret Service agent now own Mata Hari, a successful piano bar? Where did a muscle daddy get his passion for collecting fine art? If he’s as much a loner as his friends believe, why does he crave weekly sessions at an exclusive leather club?

Randy’s carefully private life unravels when Jack Fraser, a handsome art historian from England, walks into his bar, anxious to get his hands on a painting Randy owns. The desperation Randy glimpses in whiskey-colored eyes draws him in, as does the desire to submit that he senses beneath Jack’s elegant, driven exterior.

While wrestling with his attraction to Jack, Randy has to deal with a homeless teenager, a break-in at Mata Hari, and Jack’s relentless pursuit of the painting called Sunrise. It becomes clear someone’s lying to Randy. Unless he can figure out who and why, he may miss his chance at the love he’s dreamed about in the hidden places of his heart.

Note: Lying Eyes is a standalone gay romance novel with consensual bondage and a strong happy ending. It contains potential spoilers for Robert Winter’s prior novel, Every Breath You Take.

Purchase

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA

 

Excerpt

Saturday rolled around, and Randy headed to town early to make sure everything was ready for Mata Hari’s busiest evening of the week. Although the bar officially opened at five-thirty, it was rare for anyone to wander in much before seven o’clock. Randy was surprised when the front door opened at six to admit a good-looking man.

The stranger was probably about five foot nine or ten, and wore a three-piece suit that seemed tailored to accentuate a lean build. His dark hair was cut stylishly short on the sides but thick and swept back on the top, and his mustache and full beard were closely trimmed. A brightly colored necktie contrasted with the somber gray of his suit. Randy had trouble assessing the man’s age, but he would go with thirty. European, though—Randy would stake the bar on that guess.

The newcomer contemplated the walls of Mata Hari, passing almost dismissively over the art on display. He studied each piece for no more than a second before moving to the next, but Randy had a distinct impression the man sought something in particular. As he completed his survey, he kept turning and eventually met Randy’s eyes across the bar.

Immediately desire flared in the man’s face as his hungry gaze drifted over Randy’s tight white shirt and up to his face, lingering on his mouth. Shoulders tightened almost imperceptibly as he drew himself to his full height, yet Randy recognized a softening of hard edges. He lazily ran his own eyes to the stranger’s luxurious beard, and he imagined stroking the softness there. He sensed something accommodating. Something potentially submissive, yet more subtle than the wanton displays of obedience and posing he was used to on Mondays at his private club.

Something he would enjoy channeling and rewarding, in the right circumstance.

The man started toward the bar. As he moved, Randy had the odd sense that the suit he wore was ill-fitting, even though it seemed perfectly tailored. A step away from the bar, his face just—closed. That was the only word for it. One instant he was cruising Randy; the next he was stone.

Randy sighed to himself. The guy was probably a closet case on his first night at a gay bar. That usually meant an unsatisfying encounter, even if the newbie didn’t rabbit. In any case, it wasn’t Randy’s thing. He’d had plenty of virgin ass over the years, and preferred his men experienced.

Fine. Nothing for me here. He waited at the bar, vaguely disappointed.

“Sir, good evening.” The man’s accent was English, his words precise and elegant like his hair and his clothes and his beard. Probably from London. Up close, Randy could see his eyes were a deep shade of brown graced with streaks of gold around the pupils that caught the lights over the bar. “I’m looking for a Mr. Randall Vaughan.”

Despite forswearing his immediate attraction to the stranger, that honeyed voice caused Randy to smile slowly and show his teeth. He registered the slight widening of the eyes behind the stranger’s mask as he focused on Randy’s mouth.

“I’m Randy Vaughan. And you are…?”

The man blinked in surprise. “Oh. The Mr. Vaughan I was seeking is an art collector.”

Shit. Just another jerkwad, making assumptions right away. Randy was a big man so he couldn’t possibly be knowledgeable about art, could he? Well, fuck that noise. One more chance.

“I wouldn’t use the term collector, but…” Randy gestured at the walls.

“Quite so,” the man said distantly, and turned to sweep his gaze over the works on the nearest wall. “Neither would I.”

Randy’s back stiffened immediately. The stranger—no, the asshole—turned his attention back to Randy and held out a hand. He seemed oblivious to the fact that he’d just royally pissed Randy off. “My name is Jack Fraser. I’m from the Kensington Museum in London.” Fraser paused as if waiting for Randy to be impressed. “I sent you a letter recently.”

Randy willed himself not to think further about Fraser’s whiskey-colored eyes or the luxuriousness of his beard, and he didn’t take the offered hand. Instead, he wiped a small spill on the counter before him. “You did,” he agreed in a bored tone.

Fraser dropped his hand. “Ah, yes.” A pause. “My secretary didn’t hear from you to set up an appointment.”

“Which was my answer to your request,” Randy said, letting some snarl appear as he met Fraser’s eyes. They were still guarded and closed off, but Randy could see embers burning deep inside. In the right setting, and with proper motivation, he could imagine making those embers flare and ignite in the slender man before him. For the moment, though, the eyes just narrowed in calculation.

Before Fraser could say anything, Randy turned away. “If you’ll excuse me, I have work to do.”

“May I buy a pint?” Fraser asked, desperation shading his smooth accent.

Randy considered calling Malcolm over to deal with it, but stopped in front of the beer taps. He was annoyed at his lingering attraction, and he decided to push back on this prick a bit. “Fine. What’s your pleasure?”

“Guinness. If you have it.”

“Of course you’d drink Guinness.” A little scorn curled Randy’s lip. “Well, the closest beer I have is a stout from Flying Dog.” He let his sneer turn feral. “It’s called Pearl Necklace.” He dropped his eyes to Fraser’s necktie, as if he could picture that very thing replacing the colorful silk.

Fraser blinked nervously. Probably he could picture it too. Maybe he even imagined Randy’s hot jizz splattering his chest and neck as his reward. Well, he shouldn’t have been a condescending shit out of the gate then. Randy waited, one hand on the tap, the other idly scratching his ear to make his bicep flex under his white shirt. Fraser focused on his arm and swallowed audibly.

“That’ll be fine,” he said. “A, uh, Flying Dog then.” Randy drew the pint to set before Fraser on a coaster. He didn’t wait for the man to take a sip or comment, but headed to the other end of the bar to check inventory.

He stayed busy but somehow noticed that Fraser lingered at the bar for several minutes, apparently hoping Randy would come back and let him ask again about the piece Randy had purchased from the Gates Gallery. When Randy deliberately kept his distance, Fraser took his beer (which, Randy was pleased to note, was more than half gone) and wandered around the room to examine more carefully each painting displayed. Sometimes he moved on quickly to the next piece of art. Other times, he gave a slight shake of his head.

Randy’s ears burned, and he considered throwing the guy out. Since he’d opened Mata Hari no one had given him grief about his collection. To be honest, no one had studied it the way Fraser did, but still. Each piece had been acquired because Randy connected to something in it. To have this handsome English stuffed shirt look down his nose offended Randy in a way he couldn’t even articulate. He seethed inside the longer Fraser spent on his dismissive tour of the room.

When Fraser reached a landscape that was hung over a small settee, he gave a distinct snort. He set his empty beer glass on a nearby table and Randy swooped over to pick it up, ostentatiously swiping the wood as if it had left a ring. “Another Pearl Necklace?” he snarled.

“Ah, no. Thank you.” Fraser seemed surprised to find Randy standing so close, though his eyes remained closed off and stony. “But it was a quite nice stout after all. Thank you for the recommendation.”

Randy gestured at the landscape with his chin. “Is that painting offensive to you for some reason? You’re practically laughing at it.”

“What? Oh no, it’s…fine. Competent. It’s the presentation, the arrangement of the art, that I find amusing.”

Randy ran his gaze over the pieces arranged on that wall of the bar. He’d decided where to hang each and every work over a long stretch of time as he’d readied Mata Hari for opening. He revisited the collection frequently and rotated different pieces in and out of prominent positions. Most of his customers were oblivious but Randy took great satisfaction in presenting something unique in the atmosphere of his bar.

“What’s amusing about it?”

“Well, there’s no story, is there?” Fraser answered him.

“What do you mean?”

“Individually each piece is presentable. A few are even intriguing. But see here,” he gestured at the landscape, “this is a nicely executed pastoral, yet it’s positioned between a Japanese scroll and a watercolor of a monarch butterfly. The pieces say nothing about each other, and have no intrinsic relationship.

“But over there,” he indicated the wall opposite, “is a modern landscape. Change the frames to something complementary, place them side by side, and the two landscapes together suggest a conversation in, oh, quite a lot actually. Painting techniques, the subject and tonal changes in works separated by two artistic traditions. You see?”

Randy did see, but he’d be damned if he’d admit it. “Two landscapes here wouldn’t fit,” he said stubbornly.

“Ah. Art as furniture. Of course,” Fraser said with a smirk, and that did it.

“No charge for the Pearl Necklace,” Randy barked. “Since you made the trip for nothing.”

Meet the Author

Robert Winter lives and writes in Provincetown. He is a recovering lawyer who prefers writing about hot men in love much more than drafting a legal brief. He left behind the (allegedly) glamorous world of an international law firm to sit in his home office and dream up ways to torment his characters until they realize they are perfect for each other. When he isn’t writing, Robert likes to cook Indian food and explore new restaurants. He splits his attention between Andy, his partner of sixteen years, and Ling the Adventure Cat, who likes to fly in airplanes and explore the backyard jungle as long as the temperature and humidity are just right.

 

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | eMail

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Cover Reveal for Lying Eyes by Robert Winter (excerpt)

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Title:  Lying Eyes

Author: Robert Winter

Publisher:  Robert Winter Books (self-published)

Release Date: July 7, 2017

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 84300

Genre: Romance, Mystery, BDSM

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

This bartender’s art lies in more than mixing drinks …

Randy Vaughan is a six-foot-three mass of mysteries to his customers and his friends. Why does a former Secret Service agent now own Mata Hari, a successful piano bar? Where did a muscle daddy get his passion for collecting fine art? If he’s as much a loner as his friends believe, why does he crave weekly sessions at an exclusive leather club?

Randy’s carefully private life unravels when Jack Fraser, a handsome art historian from England, walks into his bar, anxious to get his hands on a painting Randy owns. The desperation Randy glimpses in whiskey-colored eyes draws him in, as does the desire to submit that he senses beneath Jack’s elegant, driven exterior.

While wrestling with his attraction to Jack, Randy has to deal with a homeless teenager, a break-in at Mata Hari, and Jack’s relentless pursuit of the painting called Sunrise. It becomes clear someone’s lying to Randy. Unless he can figure out who and why, he may miss his chance at the love he’s dreamed about in the hidden places of his heart.

Note: Lying Eyes is a standalone gay romance novel with consensual bondage and a strong happy ending. It contains potential spoilers for Robert Winter’s prior novel, Every Breath You Take.

Excerpt

Saturday rolled around, and Randy headed to town early to make sure everything was ready for Mata Hari’s busiest evening of the week. Although the bar officially opened at five-thirty, it was rare for anyone to wander in much before seven o’clock. Randy was surprised when the front door opened at six to admit a good-looking man.

The stranger was probably about five foot nine or ten, and wore a three-piece suit that seemed tailored to accentuate a lean build. His dark hair was cut stylishly short on the sides but thick and swept back on the top, and his mustache and full beard were closely trimmed. A brightly colored necktie contrasted with the somber gray of his suit. Randy had trouble assessing the man’s age, but he would go with thirty. European, though—Randy would stake the bar on that guess.

The newcomer contemplated the walls of Mata Hari, passing almost dismissively over the art on display. He studied each piece for no more than a second before moving to the next, but Randy had a distinct impression the man sought something in particular. As he completed his survey, he kept turning and eventually met Randy’s eyes across the bar.

Immediately desire flared in the man’s face as his hungry gaze drifted over Randy’s tight white shirt and up to his face, lingering on his mouth. Shoulders tightened almost imperceptibly as he drew himself to his full height, yet Randy recognized a softening of hard edges. He lazily ran his own eyes to the stranger’s luxurious beard, and he imagined stroking the softness there. He sensed something accommodating. Something potentially submissive, yet more subtle than the wanton displays of obedience and posing he was used to on Mondays at his private club.

Something he would enjoy channeling and rewarding, in the right circumstance.

The man started toward the bar. As he moved, Randy had the odd sense that the suit he wore was ill-fitting, even though it seemed perfectly tailored. A step away from the bar, his face just—closed. That was the only word for it. One instant he was cruising Randy; the next he was stone.

Randy sighed to himself. The guy was probably a closet case on his first night at a gay bar. That usually meant an unsatisfying encounter, even if the newbie didn’t rabbit. In any case, it wasn’t Randy’s thing. He’d had plenty of virgin ass over the years, and preferred his men experienced.

Fine. Nothing for me here. He waited at the bar, vaguely disappointed.

“Sir, good evening.” The man’s accent was English, his words precise and elegant like his hair and his clothes and his beard. Probably from London. Up close, Randy could see his eyes were a deep shade of brown graced with streaks of gold around the pupils that caught the lights over the bar. “I’m looking for a Mr. Randall Vaughan.”

Despite forswearing his immediate attraction to the stranger, that honeyed voice caused Randy to smile slowly and show his teeth. He registered the slight widening of the eyes behind the stranger’s mask as he focused on Randy’s mouth.

“I’m Randy Vaughan. And you are…?”

The man blinked in surprise. “Oh. The Mr. Vaughan I was seeking is an art collector.”

Shit. Just another jerkwad, making assumptions right away. Randy was a big man so he couldn’t possibly be knowledgeable about art, could he? Well, fuck that noise. One more chance.

“I wouldn’t use the term collector, but…” Randy gestured at the walls.

“Quite so,” the man said distantly, and turned to sweep his gaze over the works on the nearest wall. “Neither would I.”

Randy’s back stiffened immediately. The stranger—no, the asshole—turned his attention back to Randy and held out a hand. He seemed oblivious to the fact that he’d just royally pissed Randy off. “My name is Jack Fraser. I’m from the Kensington Museum in London.” Fraser paused as if waiting for Randy to be impressed. “I sent you a letter recently.”

Randy willed himself not to think further about Fraser’s whiskey-colored eyes or the luxuriousness of his beard, and he didn’t take the offered hand. Instead, he wiped a small spill on the counter before him. “You did,” he agreed in a bored tone.

Fraser dropped his hand. “Ah, yes.” A pause. “My secretary didn’t hear from you to set up an appointment.”

“Which was my answer to your request,” Randy said, letting some snarl appear as he met Fraser’s eyes. They were still guarded and closed off, but Randy could see embers burning deep inside. In the right setting, and with proper motivation, he could imagine making those embers flare and ignite in the slender man before him. For the moment, though, the eyes just narrowed in calculation.

Before Fraser could say anything, Randy turned away. “If you’ll excuse me, I have work to do.”

“May I buy a pint?” Fraser asked, desperation shading his smooth accent.

Randy considered calling Malcolm over to deal with it, but stopped in front of the beer taps. He was annoyed at his lingering attraction, and he decided to push back on this prick a bit. “Fine. What’s your pleasure?”

“Guinness. If you have it.”

“Of course you’d drink Guinness.” A little scorn curled Randy’s lip. “Well, the closest beer I have is a stout from Flying Dog.” He let his sneer turn feral. “It’s called Pearl Necklace.” He dropped his eyes to Fraser’s necktie, as if he could picture that very thing replacing the colorful silk.

Fraser blinked nervously. Probably he could picture it too. Maybe he even imagined Randy’s hot jizz splattering his chest and neck as his reward. Well, he shouldn’t have been a condescending shit out of the gate then. Randy waited, one hand on the tap, the other idly scratching his ear to make his bicep flex under his white shirt. Fraser focused on his arm and swallowed audibly.

“That’ll be fine,” he said. “A, uh, Flying Dog then.” Randy drew the pint to set before Fraser on a coaster. He didn’t wait for the man to take a sip or comment, but headed to the other end of the bar to check inventory.

He stayed busy but somehow noticed that Fraser lingered at the bar for several minutes, apparently hoping Randy would come back and let him ask again about the piece Randy had purchased from the Gates Gallery. When Randy deliberately kept his distance, Fraser took his beer (which, Randy was pleased to note, was more than half gone) and wandered around the room to examine more carefully each painting displayed. Sometimes he moved on quickly to the next piece of art. Other times, he gave a slight shake of his head.

Randy’s ears burned, and he considered throwing the guy out. Since he’d opened Mata Hari no one had given him grief about his collection. To be honest, no one had studied it the way Fraser did, but still. Each piece had been acquired because Randy connected to something in it. To have this handsome English stuffed shirt look down his nose offended Randy in a way he couldn’t even articulate. He seethed inside the longer Fraser spent on his dismissive tour of the room.

When Fraser reached a landscape that was hung over a small settee, he gave a distinct snort. He set his empty beer glass on a nearby table and Randy swooped over to pick it up, ostentatiously swiping the wood as if it had left a ring. “Another Pearl Necklace?” he snarled.

“Ah, no. Thank you.” Fraser seemed surprised to find Randy standing so close, though his eyes remained closed off and stony. “But it was a quite nice stout after all. Thank you for the recommendation.”

Randy gestured at the landscape with his chin. “Is that painting offensive to you for some reason? You’re practically laughing at it.”

“What? Oh no, it’s…fine. Competent. It’s the presentation, the arrangement of the art, that I find amusing.”

Randy ran his gaze over the pieces arranged on that wall of the bar. He’d decided where to hang each and every work over a long stretch of time as he’d readied Mata Hari for opening. He revisited the collection frequently and rotated different pieces in and out of prominent positions. Most of his customers were oblivious but Randy took great satisfaction in presenting something unique in the atmosphere of his bar.

“What’s amusing about it?”

“Well, there’s no story, is there?” Fraser answered him.

“What do you mean?”

“Individually each piece is presentable. A few are even intriguing. But see here,” he gestured at the landscape, “this is a nicely executed pastoral, yet it’s positioned between a Japanese scroll and a watercolor of a monarch butterfly. The pieces say nothing about each other, and have no intrinsic relationship.

“But over there,” he indicated the wall opposite, “is a modern landscape. Change the frames to something complementary, place them side by side, and the two landscapes together suggest a conversation in, oh, quite a lot actually. Painting techniques, the subject and tonal changes in works separated by two artistic traditions. You see?”

Randy did see, but he’d be damned if he’d admit it. “Two landscapes here wouldn’t fit,” he said stubbornly.

“Ah. Art as furniture. Of course,” Fraser said with a smirk, and that did it.

“No charge for the Pearl Necklace,” Randy barked. “Since you made the trip for nothing.”

 

Meet the Author

Robert Winter lives and writes in Provincetown. He is a recovering lawyer who prefers writing about hot men in love much more than drafting a legal brief. He left behind the (allegedly) glamorous world of an international law firm to sit in his home office and dream up ways to torment his characters until they realize they are perfect for each other.

When he isn’t writing, Robert likes to cook Indian food and explore new restaurants. He splits his attention between Andy, his partner of sixteen years, and Ling the Adventure Cat, who likes to fly in airplanes and explore the backyard jungle as long as the temperature and humidity are just right.

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Robert Winter on A Virtual Tour of Locations in ‘Every Breath You Take’, his latest novel (guest post and giveaway)

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Every Breath You Take by Robert Winter
Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Purchase

Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Release Date: May 5, 2017

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 221 pages
Genre: Romance, Thriller/Suspense

Add to Goodreads

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Robert Winter here today. Robert is going to give us a tour of the locations in his novel, Every Breath You Take.  Welcome, Robert!

✒︎

A Virtual Tour of Locations in Every Breath You Take by Robert Winter

Every Breath You Take is set in Washington, DC, where I have lived for more than 25 years (with a few breaks to live in New York). The city has grown and changed tremendously in that time. When I moved here in 1990, the population was on the decline as people fled to the suburbs in Virginia and Maryland. Most recently, census figures from 2016 show Washington’s population has reached a 40-year high.

That growth shows itself everywhere in new construction and in lots of traffic, but in some ways Washington retains its charm. There are lots of pretty bicycle trails, for example, such as this one that connects DC to Maryland.

There are also moments when you see a famous building, like the Capitol or the Washington Monument, and realize what a beautiful city DC really is.

In Every Breath You Take, Zachary Hall works for the Treasury Department. Although no scenes take place in his office, I’ve always thought Treasury has one of the more attractive buildings.

When Thomas Scarborough picks up Zachary at a bar, he brings him back to his condo. I let Thomas live in a swank development called CityCentreDC, which houses several high-end fashion stores, great restaurants, and condos with great views. Thomas lives on the top floor, of course.

On a memorable Sunday, Zachary visits the National Gallery of Art with Thomas and another character, Randy Vaughan.  Before he meets them inside, he sits for a while near a fountain. In the story, it had not yet been turned on, but I’m including a picture of the working fountain and its accompanying display of azaleas.

While he wanders on the Mall, Zachary also spots a building called the Newseum. Not only is this place a museum related to the freedom of the press and the other rights guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, but it also houses some famous relics including a piece of the Berlin Wall and an antenna from the World Trade Center.

It develops in the story that Zachary begins dating a man named Sam who has an apartment in an attached building called the Newseum Residence (to the left in the picture above). Sam lives on the top floor. I’m not saying anything more, but after you read Every Breath You Take you might want to take another look at that top balcony!

The last stop on our virtual tour is one that I didn’t use in the book, but that any lover of mysteries and intrigue might particularly enjoy – the International Spy Museum. My favorite feature is a collection of tools of the spy trade, including a tube of lipstick that converts into a derringer. I’ll have to find a way to use something like that in a future story, maybe one about a drag queen spy…

I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at the DC in which Zachary and Thomas find love and danger. If you know DC and I’ve missed one of your favorites, please tell us about it in the comments! You can find out more about my experiences in DC at my website.

Synopsis

When Zachary Hall leaves Utah for a job in Washington, it’s finally his chance to live as a gay man and maybe find someone special. In a bar he meets Thomas Scarborough, a man who seems perfect in and out of the bedroom. But Thomas never dates. He never even sleeps with the same man twice. Despite their instant connection, he can offer Zachary only his friendship, and Zachary is looking for more.

Thomas is tempted to break his own rules, but years before, he became the victim of a stalker who nearly destroyed his life. Even though his stalker died, Thomas obsessively keeps others at a distance. Despite his fascination with Zachary, he is unable to lower his barriers. Frustrated, Zachary accepts he will never have what he wants with Thomas and soon finds it with another man.

But young gay men in Washington, DC are being murdered, and the victims all have a connection to Thomas. Once again someone is watching Thomas’s every move. Can it be a coincidence? When the depraved killer turns his attention toward Zachary, Thomas must face the demons of his past—or lose his chance to open his heart to Zachary forever.

Excerpt

Across the street the man with the silver-framed glasses stood back in the shadows and stared at the front window of the garden apartment. He could see the back of his quarry’s head as he watched a small flat-screen TV.

Time passed.

Eventually the head nodded forward and then jerked up. When it happened a second time, the creature turned off the TV and then the lamp and headed to bed.

The man waited for another half hour with his back pressed against an alcove formed where two brownstones met. The street was quiet. Almost no one walked by, and the lone person who came down the street failed to notice him in the shadows.

The man felt his breath grow hoarse, and blood rushed in his ears as his heart began to pound. He cultivated that sensation as he reached into his coat pocket for the screwdriver that rested there and made himself imagine the creature’s hands touching the Beloved’s face. Stroking his body. He curled his fingers around the screwdriver and then clenched and unclenched rhythmically. Its thick handle felt rough against his palm because of the grooves and sharp edges he had chiseled into it. He had ideas for other implements that would serve his purpose, but for now, this would do just fine. This would make his point.

His throat was dry, and his eyes burned from focusing on the darkened window, but he felt invincible. The tension in his body climbed exquisitely, and when he could take no more, he slipped across the street and stepped down to the locked gate. It opened easily with his small set of picks. The gate made no noise when the creature went through it earlier, so he was confident and quick and didn’t bother to lock it behind him. Child’s play, he thought as he worked the lock on the apartment door.

The tumblers clicked into place.

He stored his lockpicks, slipped inside the darkened apartment, and then closed the door behind him as silently as he could. Streetlight came through the slatted blinds the boy had failed to close completely. He waited quietly until he heard a faint snore from the back and then removed his glasses and tucked them in an inside pocket of his jacket. The scarf his quarry had been wearing caught his eye, and the man bared his teeth as he lifted it off the coat tree and tugged it tightly between his hands. It was well made. It would hold. He smiled.

He slid through the gloom toward the room where the creature lay sleeping. He was hard, and the blood in his erection pulsed in time to the pounding of his heart. That boy had dared to touch his Beloved. He had probably even been fucked by him. But that wasn’t enough—oh no. He came back for more.

It had taken the man so long to find his Beloved and interpret his subtle clues. He finally understood what was required of him. The undeserving gnat must be chastised, and he would be the Beloved’s angel of retribution. He was conscious of the weight of the screwdriver in his pocket, the scratch of the wool scarf in his hands, and the power in his arms.

He reached for the boy on the bed.

Meet the Author

Robert Winter is a recovering lawyer who likes writing about hot men in love much more than drafting a legal brief. He left behind the (allegedly) glamorous world of an international law firm to sit in his home office and dream up ways to torment his characters until they realize they are perfect for each other. When he isn’t writing, Robert likes to cook Indian food and explore new restaurants.

Robert divides his time between Washington, DC, and Provincetown, MA. He splits his attention between Andy, his partner of sixteen years, and Ling the Adventure Cat, who likes to fly in airplanes and explore the backyard jungle as long as the temperature and humidity are just right.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | 
Goodreads
 | eMail

Blog Tour Schedule

May 8 – Stories That Make You Smile | Books, Dreams, Life
May 9 – two chicks obsessed Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews
May 10 – Oh My Shelves | Butterfly-o-Meter Books
May 11 – Bayou Book Junkie | Boy Meets Boy Reviews
May 12 – Urban Smoothie Read | Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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In Our Contemporary Spotlight: Every Breath You Take by Robert Winter (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  Every Breath You Take

Author: Robert Winter

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Release Date: May 5, 2017

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 221 pages

Genre: Romance, Thriller/Suspense

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

When Zachary Hall leaves Utah for a job in Washington, it’s finally his chance to live as a gay man and maybe find someone special. In a bar he meets Thomas Scarborough, a man who seems perfect in and out of the bedroom. But Thomas never dates. He never even sleeps with the same man twice. Despite their instant connection, he can offer Zachary only his friendship, and Zachary is looking for more.

Thomas is tempted to break his own rules, but years before, he became the victim of a stalker who nearly destroyed his life. Even though his stalker died, Thomas obsessively keeps others at a distance. Despite his fascination with Zachary, he is unable to lower his barriers. Frustrated, Zachary accepts he will never have what he wants with Thomas and soon finds it with another man.

But young gay men in Washington, DC are being murdered, and the victims all have a connection to Thomas. Once again someone is watching Thomas’s every move. Can it be a coincidence? When the depraved killer turns his attention toward Zachary, Thomas must face the demons of his past—or lose his chance to open his heart to Zachary forever.

Excerpt

Across the street the man with the silver-framed glasses stood back in the shadows and stared at the front window of the garden apartment. He could see the back of his quarry’s head as he watched a small flat-screen TV.

Time passed.

Eventually the head nodded forward and then jerked up. When it happened a second time, the creature turned off the TV and then the lamp and headed to bed.

The man waited for another half hour with his back pressed against an alcove formed where two brownstones met. The street was quiet. Almost no one walked by, and the lone person who came down the street failed to notice him in the shadows.

The man felt his breath grow hoarse, and blood rushed in his ears as his heart began to pound. He cultivated that sensation as he reached into his coat pocket for the screwdriver that rested there and made himself imagine the creature’s hands touching the Beloved’s face. Stroking his body. He curled his fingers around the screwdriver and then clenched and unclenched rhythmically. Its thick handle felt rough against his palm because of the grooves and sharp edges he had chiseled into it. He had ideas for other implements that would serve his purpose, but for now, this would do just fine. This would make his point.

His throat was dry, and his eyes burned from focusing on the darkened window, but he felt invincible. The tension in his body climbed exquisitely, and when he could take no more, he slipped across the street and stepped down to the locked gate. It opened easily with his small set of picks. The gate made no noise when the creature went through it earlier, so he was confident and quick and didn’t bother to lock it behind him. Child’s play, he thought as he worked the lock on the apartment door.

The tumblers clicked into place.

He stored his lockpicks, slipped inside the darkened apartment, and then closed the door behind him as silently as he could. Streetlight came through the slatted blinds the boy had failed to close completely. He waited quietly until he heard a faint snore from the back and then removed his glasses and tucked them in an inside pocket of his jacket. The scarf his quarry had been wearing caught his eye, and the man bared his teeth as he lifted it off the coat tree and tugged it tightly between his hands. It was well made. It would hold. He smiled.

He slid through the gloom toward the room where the creature lay sleeping. He was hard, and the blood in his erection pulsed in time to the pounding of his heart. That boy had dared to touch his Beloved. He had probably even been fucked by him. But that wasn’t enough—oh no. He came back for more.

It had taken the man so long to find his Beloved and interpret his subtle clues. He finally understood what was required of him. The undeserving gnat must be chastised, and he would be the Beloved’s angel of retribution. He was conscious of the weight of the screwdriver in his pocket, the scratch of the wool scarf in his hands, and the power in his arms.

He reached for the boy on the bed.

Purchase

Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Meet the Author

Robert Winter is a recovering lawyer who likes writing about hot men in love much more than drafting a legal brief. He left behind the (allegedly) glamorous world of an international law firm to sit in his home office and dream up ways to torment his characters until they realize they are perfect for each other. When he isn’t writing, Robert likes to cook Indian food and explore new restaurants.

Robert divides his time between Washington, DC, and Provincetown, MA. He splits his attention between Andy, his partner of sixteen years, and Ling the Adventure Cat, who likes to fly in airplanes and explore the backyard jungle as long as the temperature and humidity are just right.

Website | Facebook | Twitter |
Goodreads
eMail

Blitz Schedule

Hoards Jumble
Bayou Book Junkie
Happily Ever Chapter
Babbling About Books and More
Books, Dreams, Life
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
Dawn’s Reading Nook
DirtyBooksObsession
It’s About The Book
Booklover Sue
Out Of My Head

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Love Suspense and Romance? Check Out ‘Every Breath You Take’ by Robert Winter (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  Every Breath You Take

Author: Robert Winter

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Release Date: May 5, 2017

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 221 pages

Genre: Romance, Thriller/Suspense

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

When Zachary Hall leaves Utah for a job in Washington, it’s finally his chance to live as a gay man and maybe find someone special. In a bar he meets Thomas Scarborough, a man who seems perfect in and out of the bedroom. But Thomas never dates. He never even sleeps with the same man twice. Despite their instant connection, he can offer Zachary only his friendship, and Zachary is looking for more.

Thomas is tempted to break his own rules, but years before, he became the victim of a stalker who nearly destroyed his life. Even though his stalker died, Thomas obsessively keeps others at a distance. Despite his fascination with Zachary, he is unable to lower his barriers. Frustrated, Zachary accepts he will never have what he wants with Thomas and soon finds it with another man.

But young gay men in Washington, DC are being murdered, and the victims all have a connection to Thomas. Once again someone is watching Thomas’s every move. Can it be a coincidence? When the depraved killer turns his attention toward Zachary, Thomas must face the demons of his past—or lose his chance to open his heart to Zachary forever.

Excerpt

Across the street the man with the silver-framed glasses stood back in the shadows and stared at the front window of the garden apartment. He could see the back of his quarry’s head as he watched a small flat-screen TV.

Time passed.

Eventually the head nodded forward and then jerked up. When it happened a second time, the creature turned off the TV and then the lamp and headed to bed.

The man waited for another half hour with his back pressed against an alcove formed where two brownstones met. The street was quiet. Almost no one walked by, and the lone person who came down the street failed to notice him in the shadows.

The man felt his breath grow hoarse, and blood rushed in his ears as his heart began to pound. He cultivated that sensation as he reached into his coat pocket for the screwdriver that rested there and made himself imagine the creature’s hands touching the Beloved’s face. Stroking his body. He curled his fingers around the screwdriver and then clenched and unclenched rhythmically. Its thick handle felt rough against his palm because of the grooves and sharp edges he had chiseled into it. He had ideas for other implements that would serve his purpose, but for now, this would do just fine. This would make his point.

His throat was dry, and his eyes burned from focusing on the darkened window, but he felt invincible. The tension in his body climbed exquisitely, and when he could take no more, he slipped across the street and stepped down to the locked gate. It opened easily with his small set of picks. The gate made no noise when the creature went through it earlier, so he was confident and quick and didn’t bother to lock it behind him. Child’s play, he thought as he worked the lock on the apartment door.

The tumblers clicked into place.

He stored his lockpicks, slipped inside the darkened apartment, and then closed the door behind him as silently as he could. Streetlight came through the slatted blinds the boy had failed to close completely. He waited quietly until he heard a faint snore from the back and then removed his glasses and tucked them in an inside pocket of his jacket. The scarf his quarry had been wearing caught his eye, and the man bared his teeth as he lifted it off the coat tree and tugged it tightly between his hands. It was well made. It would hold. He smiled.

He slid through the gloom toward the room where the creature lay sleeping. He was hard, and the blood in his erection pulsed in time to the pounding of his heart. That boy had dared to touch his Beloved. He had probably even been fucked by him. But that wasn’t enough—oh no. He came back for more.

It had taken the man so long to find his Beloved and interpret his subtle clues. He finally understood what was required of him. The undeserving gnat must be chastised, and he would be the Beloved’s angel of retribution. He was conscious of the weight of the screwdriver in his pocket, the scratch of the wool scarf in his hands, and the power in his arms.

He reached for the boy on the bed.

Purchase

Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Meet the Author

Robert Winter is a recovering lawyer who likes writing about hot men in love much more than drafting a legal brief. He left behind the (allegedly) glamorous world of an international law firm to sit in his home office and dream up ways to torment his characters until they realize they are perfect for each other. When he isn’t writing, Robert likes to cook Indian food and explore new restaurants.

Robert divides his time between Washington, DC, and Provincetown, MA. He splits his attention between Andy, his partner of sixteen years, and Ling the Adventure Cat, who likes to fly in airplanes and explore the backyard jungle as long as the temperature and humidity are just right.

Website | Facebook | Twitter |
Goodreads
eMail

Blitz Schedule

Hoards Jumble
Bayou Book Junkie
Happily Ever Chapter
Babbling About Books and More
Books, Dreams, Life
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
Dawn’s Reading Nook
DirtyBooksObsession
It’s About The Book
Booklover Sue
Out Of My Head

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Book Blitz and Giveaway: September by Robert Winter

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Title:  September

Series: Pride and Joy #1

Author: Robert Winter

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Release Date: Dec 9, 2016

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 100000 words

Genre: Romance, May-December, Contemporary, Provincetown, Washington DC

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

David James is smart, successful, handsome… and alone. After the death of his lover, Kyle, from cancer, he buried himself in his law practice and the gym. At forty-eight, he is haunted by his memories and walled off from the world. When David injures himself working out, he’s assigned to Brandon Smith for physical therapy. The vibrant young therapist is attracted to David and realizes he needs a hand to get back into dating. What begins as a practice coffee date escalates to friendship, passion, and maybe something more, as they navigate a new relationship in Washington, DC, and the gay mecca of Provincetown.

But David remains trapped behind the barrier of fear and guilt. Will he remain loyal to Kyle’s memory if he moves on? Can he and Brandon manage a twenty-two-year age gap? Brandon thinks he understands David’s concerns, and for him, the answer to those questions is yes. He wants to be with David, and he believes he can overcome David’s barriers. But Brandon fails to account for the world’s reaction to a handsome young man attached to an older, wealthy lover. David’s memories, Brandon’s pride, and an unexpected tragedy might cost them something very special.

Excerpt

Brandon made it to the clinic that morning with about fifteen minutes to spare, dropped his backpack in the break room, and grabbed his water bottle. “Chilly day, huh?” he asked Josh, another therapist, as he filled the bottle. “Did ya catch the Nats lineup? It sounds like it’s gonna be a good season.” They shot the shit for a few minutes as Josh fixed his coffee.

Shari, one of the assistants to the four physical therapists in the clinic, dropped Brandon’s patient files at his work area, along with a short summary on top. He skimmed the list as he drank water to get hydrated for what promised to be a grueling day. Mia Johnson had bad arthritis; she was responding well with heat and stretching. Miz Williams—nice woman, but ugh, never did her home exercises. Maggie Cook had been injured in a bike accident two weeks back, and it was time to adjust her brace. A new patient, David James, had a torn rotator cuff.

Hmm. Fresh injury, I’ll wanna start simply. He read through his patient notes and flexed his hands as he thought about various massage strokes or exercises that should help. He was engrossed, and he vaguely heard the door to the reception area open and a baritone rumble. A few seconds later, a shadow fell over his desk and a deep voice spoke.

“Excuse me. Are you Brandon Smith? The receptionist sent me back.” Brandon looked up at a man who was holding a medical file out to him, and he almost let his jaw drop.

The guy was tall, a little over six feet, and wearing a suit. His hair was chestnut brown with some gray, parted on the left and smoothly combed up and to the back. He had cheekbones like a model and such brilliant green eyes that Brandon wondered for a second if he were wearing tinted contact lenses. His eyebrows were thick but sharply defined, like upside-down checkmarks. And his full lips would definitely be soft to kiss. Seriously good-looking.

When the silence stretched, the hottie prompted, “Umm…,” and Brandon shook his head.

“Sorry. I was just caught up in somethin’.” He gave a big smile as he stood and held out his hand. “I’m Brandon. Are you David?”

David shook the offered hand with a strong, warm grip. His big mitt engulfed Brandon’s hand and drew from him a slight involuntary moan. David met his eye, and Brandon imagined he saw a little speculative spark there. Yes, I’m available. Though it was wishful thinking that the man would care.

“Good to meet you, Brandon. I’m supposed to give you this file.” David offered the manila folder again, which Brandon took as he gestured for David to take a seat. He opened the file as he sat down, and studied a screen print of David’s MRI on top.

“Rotator cuff. Yeah. Tell me how you tore it.”

“I guess it was doing pull-ups. I felt a twinge when I was working out the other morning, and within a day, the pain was pretty intense.”

“I’ll bet. Rotator cuff tears suck donkey balls.” Brandon glanced up from the file and then looked sheepish. “Sorry. That was unprofessional. Have you ever had physical therapy before?” he asked.

“Donkey balls is about the size of it, so no worries.” David grinned at Brandon. “And no. I’ve been lucky. This is the first time I’ve had anything worse than sore muscles.”

Brandon glanced over David’s suit jacket, which was tailored to show his broad shoulders and narrow waist. “Well, obviously you work out a lot. So if this is your first injury, you must have great form.”

David chuckled. “I doubt that. I’ve just had good coaches that make me careful.”

“Let’s start with your routine, so I can get an idea of what might have led to the tear and what kinda treatment and rehab will work best here. You mentioned coaches?”

“I’ve been doing CrossFit for about a year now. Before that I always ran and lifted weights on my own.”

“CrossFit is keepin’ therapists like me gainfully employed,” Brandon said as he focused again on the medical evaluation in front of him. He sensed, however, that he had annoyed David, and he looked up quickly. Sure enough David had a slightly pissed expression on his face.

“I’ve never found anything as good as CrossFit,” David said, irritation clear in his tone. “It challenges me at a level of intensity that I didn’t manage to achieve on my own.”

Brandon held up a hand in a placating gesture. “Hey, I’m glad it works for you. I know some people are crazy about it. But understand, I only see the fall-out when somethin’ goes wrong.”

David relaxed a bit. “That makes sense. I suppose it’s all in the quality of the coaching.”

“Sure. But even the best coach can’t prevent all injuries. It’s inevitable when you train that hard.”

“What’s the program here? How soon will I be able to get back to it?”

Brandon tilted his head and studied the image of David’s shoulder. “That’s hard to predict. I’d say we’re talkin’ weeks, not months.” David groaned, and Brandon couldn’t help smiling a bit. “Look, you’re not gonna lose all that muscle if you rest a few weeks. Let’s get started, and I’ll have a better sense of what we’re gonna try. Okay?”

Brandon rose, gestured for David to follow, and led him to a cubicle containing a padded table and curtains that could be drawn for privacy. “I’ll need to get at that shoulder to see what’s what. Take off your jacket and shirt and your T-shirt, if you’re wearin’ one. Just call out when you’re ready.” Brandon left David and pulled the curtains around.

A few minutes later, David called out, “Ready.” Brandon slipped through the closed curtains, and he caught his breath. David had a beautiful body, which was bared to the waist. His shoulders were broad, with perfect traps connecting his long neck to cannonball-like deltoids. His pecs were almost perfectly smooth. Wonder if he shaves that chest? His biceps and triceps were cut, and his forearms were thick and lightly dusted in silky-looking hair. A nice V-shape ran from his belly down to where his belt and suit pants covered the rest. Brandon flicked a glance over the bulge at David’s crotch. He guessed what was hidden was equally spectacular, and he tried to think of a reason to make David drop trou for a shoulder injury.

“Wow. Forget what I said and stick with CrossFit.”

David laughed and asked, “Are you just trying to keep a steady line of business going?” Brandon flashed him a grin, and David clearly began relaxing into the therapy despite his flirting. Or maybe because of?

Brandon stepped closer and peered up. He was about five inches shorter than David. “Well, I could climb you like a tree, but I think it’ll be easier on both of us if you sit down while I check out your shoulder.” Brandon hooked over a stool with his foot, and when David sat, Brandon grasped his right wrist in his left hand. “Let me do the movin’.” He gently placed the arm in various positions, studying David’s reaction and stopping each movement when he saw the slightest grimace or wince. After a few minutes of that, he—reluctantly—released the arm and leaned back against a counter.

“It seems pretty straightforward, David. This is a common injury, and nothin’ indicates permanent damage. Also, there’s nothin’ troublesome on the X-ray. I’m sure it feels like shit, and you’re probably gonna get mad at me from the exercises I put you through, but I can help. Don’t do anythin’ to the point of pain, but if you want results, you’re gonna need to do a lot of work, here and on your own. The weights will be light, but you’ll do so many reps it’ll be a ball buster. Feel free to curse at me when I push you, but be honest about your pain level. How does that sound?”

“Fair enough. Do we start today?” David asked.

“Absolutely. So, scale of one to ten, what’s your pain like right now?”

“I’d say… five?”

“Well, don’t ask me, cowboy. This is your rodeo.”

David laughed at that. “Then five.”

Brandon leaned against the counter, arms crossed as he looked David in the eye. “Dr. McCracken has you on an anti-inflammatory, right? Good. Okay. I’m gonna get some heat on that shoulder first, and then we’ll go through some light mobilization work.”

Something in David’s gaze—a smolder—made him pause. Although he’d been flirting a bit, it wasn’t with any real expectation that David would respond. Is it possible he’s gay…? He stamped on the thought and continued. “I’ll give you a series of stretches and exercises that I want you to work through at least twice a day until I see you again on Monday. Then I’m gonna put some kinesio tape on the shoulder to help ease the stress. You’ll sleep better, I promise.”

“Let’s do it,” David said.

Brandon flushed a bit at what David had unintentionally signaled and the image it sparked. Don’t flirt any more. You’re probably wrong, and it’s unprofessional anyway. Brandon retrieved a heated towel and laid it over David’s injured shoulder. “Too hot?”

“No, not at all. That feels good.”

“You should do this at home, or at the office if you can manage it. You can just warm a damp hand towel in a microwave. Heat first, then the rehab exercises I’m gonna give you. Finish up with ice. Now you sit quietly for another five minutes while I get some materials together.”

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Meet the Author

Robert Winter is a recovering lawyer who likes writing about hot men in love much more than drafting a legal brief. He left behind the (allegedly) glamorous world of an international law firm to sit in his home office and dream up ways to torment his characters until they realize they are perfect for each other. When he isn’t writing, Robert likes to cook Indian food and explore new restaurants.

Robert divides his time between Washington, DC, and Provincetown, MA. He splits his attention between Andy, his partner of sixteen years, and Ling the Adventure Cat, who likes to fly in airplanes and explore the backyard jungle as long as the temperature and humidity are just right.

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Giveaway

The author is offering up FIVE signed paperbacks of the novel, September, to lucky winners! Enter below for your chance to win.

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Author Robert Winter on the Community of Storytellers and his release ‘September (Pride and Joy #1)’ (author guest blog)

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September (Pride and Joy #1) by Robert Winter
D
reamspinner Press
Cover Art by Catt Ford

Available for Purchase at

 

Community of Storytellers by Robert Winter

I spent nearly twenty years as a lawyer in large international law firms, where all my writing was adversarial and designed to score points. I crafted arguments to persuade. I molded law and facts to tell the story I wanted a judge to know, and I asked her to give my client the ending it sought. My audience was usually limited to other attorneys in my law firm, a client, a judge or her law clerks, and opponents who wanted to find flaws in my analysis or spin a different story. It was lucrative, but it never satisfied my creative desires.

When I wrote September, I finally got to tell a story from beginning to end without worrying about whether it appeased a client or convinced a judge. I thought that would be the best thing about going from lawyer to author. I was wrong.

The biggest and most pleasant surprise about having my first novel published has been to discover that I am now part of a community of storytellers who support each other and want us all to succeed. I was lucky enough to attend GRL 2016 in Kansas City, my first M/M conference. The buzz on Facebook before I attended had me somewhat alarmed at the enthusiasm. As an introvert, I thought I would likely spend the days hiding in the back of the room for various panels, and maybe work up the courage to ask one or two favorite authors for an autograph. Instead, from the moment I arrived at the hotel, I felt I was part of a conversation. In a large room filled with writers I quickly found connections. BG Thomas signed books for me. Jordan Hawk talked to me about Whybourne and Griffin and what was coming next. Hank Edwards suggested which book of his would make a good starting point. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to talk to these published authors!

Then there were the readers. I met several people who were fanboying and fangirling as hard as I was. They were there to meet their favorite authors, to be introduced to new ones, to find out what books are coming out soon, to play bingo and even to watch ice hockey together. I realized quickly that even those readers who claimed they had no writing talent themselves actually did tell a story, each time they discussed their favorite books and what those books meant to them at different times of their lives.

It just kept getting better. I met freakin’ Alexa Land, whose Coming Home was one of the first M/M books I ever found, and whose entire Firsts and Forever series I’ve read through at least twice. I met CJane Elliott and got advice on how to promote my book. I went for coffee with BG Thomas and Pat Henshaw. I took pictures with Brandon Witt and Devon McCormack. It was like the best high school reunion, where everyone was excited to see old friends and to make new ones. I have been out as a gay man for more than 30 years, but I came away from GRL convinced I had found a new tribe.

As the release date for September approached, many of the authors and readers I met posted comments about my book, or gave me advice, or just traded funny stories. I got release day reviews, guest blog invitations, feedback on Goodreads. I experienced the joy of readers loving my characters, and finding emotional satisfaction in my story. (Does it make me a bad person that I love the reviews that mention I made them cry?) Remarkably to me, I recognized the names of some of the readers and reviewers from having met them at GRL, months before my book was out.

What I learned from this experience is that our M/M community is much bigger and more passionate than I ever imagined. The writers and readers and bloggers and reviewers and cover artists and narrators and publishers all do it because they love M/M. More, they want to spread that love because they want to keep reading and telling these kinds of stories.

I’m energized by the passion that this community creates, and I’m lucky to have found my way home.

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Book Blurb

David James is smart, successful, handsome… and alone. After the death of his lover, Kyle, from cancer, he buried himself in his law practice and the gym. At forty-eight, he is haunted by his memories and walled off from the world. When David injures himself working out, he’s assigned to Brandon Smith for physical therapy. The vibrant young therapist is attracted to David and realizes he needs a hand to get back into dating. What begins as a practice coffee date escalates to friendship, passion, and maybe something more, as they navigate a new relationship in Washington, DC, and the gay mecca of Provincetown.

But David remains trapped behind the barrier of fear and guilt. Will he remain loyal to Kyle’s memory if he moves on? Can he and Brandon manage a twenty-two-year age gap? Brandon thinks he understands David’s concerns, and for him, the answer to those questions is yes. He wants to be with David, and he believes he can overcome David’s barriers. But Brandon fails to account for the world’s reaction to a handsome young man attached to an older, wealthy lover. David’s memories, Brandon’s pride, and an unexpected tragedy might cost them something very special.

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About the Author

Robert Winter is a recovering lawyer who likes writing about hot men in love much more than drafting a legal brief. He left behind the (allegedly) glamorous world of an international law firm to sit in his home office and dream up ways to torment his characters until they realize they are perfect for each other.

Robert divides his time between Washington, DC, and Provincetown, MA. He splits his attention between Andy, his partner of fifteen years, and Ling the Adventure Cat, who likes to fly in airplanes and explore the backyard jungle as long as the temperature and humidity are just right.

           

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