by Jeanne St. James
Publisher: Double-J Romance, Inc.
Cover Artist: Golden Czermak @ FuriousFotog
Release Date: July 30, 2022
Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance
Tropes: Gay, mature (both characters over 40), small town, grumpy/sunshine
Themes: Dealing with loss, new beginnings
Heat Rating: 4 flames
Length: 368 pages
It is a standalone story with no cliffhanger.
Buy Links - Available in Kindle Unlimited
An unexpected collaboration between two authors that’s hot enough to spark a fire...
After an excruciating loss, I’m desperate for a fresh start.
Away from the painful memories.
Away from everyone I know and anyone who knows my story.
That’s how I end up in Eagle’s Landing, Pennsylvania.
As a bestselling author, my main reason for moving to a remote mountain cabin is to overcome the writer’s block that crushed my creativity for the past two years. My hope is to rediscover my words in the quiet, small town where no one knows me. Or my past.
A place where I can blend in enough that I become invisible.
Even though Chase, one of my favorite authors, insists he wants to be left alone, I refuse to let him wallow in whatever’s drowning him.
As a local bookstore owner and author myself, I’m intrigued by the man who’s a master of the written word. Unfortunately, his social skills could use a lot of work.
Even so, I’m determined to pull the irritable and frustrating man out of the dark pit he’s fallen into and back to the surface, no matter how hard he fights it. I only hope dragging Chase down that fiery path just might reignite his spark and that I don’t get burned in the process.
Note: Please check the content warning before reading or purchasing. It can be found at the beginning of the book (accessible by Amazon’s “look inside” feature or by downloading the sample) as well as on my website. This standalone gay romance has a guaranteed HEA, no cheating and no cliffhanger.
I paused my fork halfway to my mouth. I had only made a small dent in the diner’s belly-busting breakfast special so far. It was criminal how much food the server had delivered for five bucks.
Five freaking bucks. On Long Island, it would have cost me at least fifteen.
And for only two more dollars, the coffee came with unlimited refills. If I could mainline that welcomed caffeine right now, I would.
My whole body ached and I was exhausted, not only from sleeping like sh*t in the motel, but from tackling the seemingly endless job of cleaning the cabin from top to bottom. I didn’t want the furniture I purchased down at a mom-and-pop store in Picture Rocks to be delivered until the place was completely spotless and all my unwanted roommates had been effectively evicted.
While I liked bats and knew they were beneficial, I just didn’t want to share the same space with them. If they returned to sleep in the rafters today, then I needed to find how they were getting in since I had covered the broken window with plastic-sheeting.
But all of that wasn’t what made me pause my eating, it was the man across the diner who wouldn’t stop staring.
Like me, he also sat alone, but unlike me, he seemed to know everyone in the diner. A local just like everyone else there.
The first morning, all eyes had turned in my direction as soon as I walked through The Eagle’s Nest’s door, but now the waitresses were used to seeing me since this was my third day eating in the diner, for both breakfast and a late dinner.
The food was good. The prices and attentive, friendly service even better.
Even one of the thirty-something-year-old waitresses had tried flirting with me. She had no idea she was barking up the wrong tree. Even if I was on the dating market, she was playing on the wrong team. While I had the utmost respect for women, I simply didn’t want to sleep with them.
However, the man who kept staring at me was most likely not on my team, either.
Was he staring because I was simply a stranger in a close-knit community, where everyone apparently knew everyone?
It couldn’t be because I was gay. While I had never hidden it, I also didn’t flaunt it and most women, when I broke it to them gently, were shocked to find out the truth.
Most men, too.
I’d heard, “My gaydar must be broken,” more times than I’d ever wanted to.
Even so, dating wasn’t on my agenda anytime soon. Or ever, since I had no plans on dating anyone ever again.
Life would be easier that way. Plus, at this point, being a team player didn’t matter, I preferred to remain a free agent.
Ignoring the man, I finished shoving the forkful of scrambled eggs into my mouth, hoping the guy would get bored staring at me.
Still ignoring the man, I stabbed a piece of sausage, also shoving it into my mouth and chewing, hoping the guy would lose interest in whatever had caught it in the first place.
Continuing to ignore the rude man, I sucked down half a cup of black coffee, hoping the guy would simply f*ck off.
Finally, unable to ignore him anymore, I dropped the fork on my plate with a clatter, tipped my head down and rubbed my forehead. I steadied my breathing in an attempt to lower my quickly rising blood pressure.
I only wanted to eat in peace. I wasn’t here to make friends, or even enemies.
I only wanted to be left the f*ck alone.
But of course that wasn’t going to happen.
This was exactly why I left Long Island, everything I knew and everybody who knew me.
I wanted to live somewhere no one knew me or my backstory. I had gotten to the breaking point, swallowed up by pity on one hand, or people thinking it was time I “got over it” on the other.
I’d never get over it.
Not f*cking ever.
“F*ck!” screamed through my head when the dark-haired man rose from where he sat at the counter. After throwing a few singles next to his plate, he turned and headed away from the entrance and toward my booth.
Of. F*cking. Course.
Dread rose from my gut into my throat and began to choke me. The man might have recognized me somehow.
Lifting my coffee cup, I peered over the rim to keep an eye on the approaching man. My muscles and spine stiffened more with every step taken closer to where I sat. Trying to mind my own business.
Trying to eat breakfast.
Trying to exist in peace.
About the Author
JEANNE ST. JAMES is a USA Today, Amazon and international bestselling romance author who loves writing about strong women and alpha males. She was only thirteen when she first started writing. Her first published piece was an erotic short story in Playgirl magazine. She then went on to publish her first romance novel in 2009. She is now an author of over fifty contemporary romances. She writes M/F, M/M, and M/M/F ménages, including interracial. She also writes M/M paranormal romance under the name J.J. Masters.
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