August 15, 2014
GRL Preorders are now available!
If you plan to attend GRL in Chicago this October, you can preorder paperbacks on our site between now and September 21 to be picked up at the event, and if you use the code GRL2014, you won’t have to pay shipping! Any orders using this code will only be available for pickup at GRL. You can order books from any author, even if the author isn’t attending GRL.
The code is valid on all in-stock paperbacks and good for multiple orders, so take advantage of all the specials between now and then. We will have a special GRL preorder sale Sept. 17-21 where ALL paperbacks will be in-stock for preorders, so if something isn’t available now, check back then.
June 18, 2014
I’m Aidee Ladnier and I’m so excited to be on the Dreamspinner Blog to celebrate the release of my very first standalone title, THE BREAK-IN.
I’ll be here for a few hours, posting goodies and answering any questions you might have about my roboticist and his favorite wayward programmer. Leave a comment. Don’t be scared.
This is actually the second story of mine that includes Forbes and Oliver, but it’s definitely a standalone story. In the first story, “The Applicant”, a young Forbes met an older and wiser Oliver, who he thought was applying for a research assistant position. In THE BREAK-IN, Forbes is now the old and wiser of the pair, with a young Oliver again at his door but this time trying to rob him. How will Oliver get past Jeepers the robot cat, and why does switching sides look so attractive when a hot roboticist is involved?
Blurb: Ten years ago, roboticist Forbes Pohle received a visit from time-traveler Oliver Lennox. “Wait for me,” Oliver said. Now a decade has come and gone, and Oliver has returned. However, Forbes never dreamed Oliver would reappear as the point man for a gang of technology thieves breaking into his lab. He finds the younger Oliver just as sexy and even more annoying; still, he must convince him their happily-ever-after is meant to be—but he only has the time it takes his robotic cat Jeepers to thwart the thieves to do it. After waiting so long, he could lose everything in the span of seconds.
Don’t forget to enter my Rafflecopter giveaway!
June 14, 2014
Okay, Guess who???
I’m here with the last excerpt and question. Good luck everyone. Remember, don’t post your answers any earlier then two o’clock, EST. I’ll see you at the cocktail hour with drink and winners in hand.
“You’re almost a blond now, Holt,” Garner mumbled as he glanced at his wavy, shoulder-length locks in the mirror. His hair was now way more blond than brown from all the sunny days he’d spent on the docks at the marina in Savannah, not to mention his days at sea. But he also realized he was only going to get more blond the longer he stayed in Key West and chuckled when he thought about the blond jokes that Hank and Thompson would certainly bestow upon him.
He leaned into the mirror as he applied moisturizer to his evenly tanned and mostly unwrinkled skin, mentally patting himself on the back for remembering to apply sunscreen on a regular basis.
He took a step back from the mirror and studied his slender face and strong jawline and frowned. God. I may not have many wrinkles, but the older I get, the more I look like Dad. He felt the familiar waves of sadness and guilt that normally washed over him when he thought about his father, but over the years he’d learned to keep them at bay. Mostly.
He forced the feelings back down as he scanned his naked body in the mirror and felt a little bit of pride. “Not bad for thirty-six,” he said. “At lest the old physique hadn’t turned on me yet.” He followed his broad shoulders and muscular chest down to his small waist, flat stomach, and naturally strong legs. “I guess all those years at the gym really paid off.”
He’d spent almost nine years behind a desk, and during that time he’d been obsessed with the gym, so afraid he was going to get fat and flabby.
He stepped out of the head and stood in front of his open closet door. He folded his arms across his chest and patted his bare foot. It’s your first night in Key West, Holt, and you only get one chance to make a first impression, so what’s it going to be?
Deciding he wanted to fit in, he settled on a pair of well-broken-in comfortable jeans that rode low on his hips and a neon green Nautica T-shirt. He slipped into his brown leather boat shoes, put on his brown belt, and stood in front of his full-length mirror. I guess this will have to do.
It was still a little early, so Garner decided to have a drink before he ventured out for his first night on the town. He opened a bottle of chardonnay, poured himself a glass, and climbed the companionway stairs to the cockpit. He settled in front of the steering wheel, kicked his shoes off, and propped his feet up.
It was a beautiful evening; mild in temperature and the sun was hovering low in the sky, as if defiantly refusing to dip below the horizon. Garner took a sip of his wine, leaned his head back, and closed his eyes, soaking in the last warm rays of sun. At the sound of footsteps on the dock, Garner’s curiosity got the best of him, and he opened one eye to see who was approaching. He raised his head and sat up straight when he saw Mr. Clean casually making his way down the dock. As the stranger approached, Garner began to feel very silly. The guy didn’t look near as scary as he had this morning and not the least bit intimidating. Yes he was still bizarre looking, but as he got closer, Garner could see that he was dressed in form-fitting blue jeans, a tight gray turtleneck, and black high-top tennis shoes.
Normal everyday attire, he thought. No spiked leather vest and pants with chains leading to his wallet. No shit kicker boots either. Just everyday clothing.
When he reached the stern of AquaTherapy, it appeared as if the man was going to stop. Garner’s heart skipped a beat in anticipation of what was to come. But instead, their eyes locked and Garner held the stranger’s gaze. After a few seconds, the stranger simply nodded, flashed a smile, and kept going.
Garner nodded back and followed the stranger’s movements down the dock.
What struck Garner as odd was the stranger’s familiar hollow stare. His crystal blue-gray eyes produced the same effect Garner had experienced when he’d gazed into Thompson Gray’s emerald eyes for the first time. The flecks of gold and the depth of green in Thompson’s eyes had had a major impact on Garner back in Savannah, but despite the rich color, they too were hollow, almost void of any emotion.
After the man disappeared through the marina gate, Garner continued to stare like he could still see him. He was startled out of his thoughts by his cell phone ringing. He unclipped the phone from his belt and, without looking, slid his finger across the bottom of the phone and put it to his ear.
“Glad to hear you’re still alive,” the voice on the other end of the line said.
“Thompson?” Garner said, breaking his trance and smiling into the phone. “I was just thinking about you.”
Thompson chuckled. “Do I dare ask why?”
“Probably not,” Garner replied.
“Oh geez,” Thompson said. “You’re right. I probably don’t want to know.”
“How the hell are you guys? Hank okay?”
“We’re great. Missing you though.”
“I miss you guys too,” Garner said with sincerity.
“Where are you?” Thompson asked.
“Just got to Key West this morning.”
“That’s great,” Thompson said. “Now that you’ve arrived, if you’re going to stay put for a while, Hank and I would like to try and figure out a time when we can both get away so we can come to see you. If you still want us to, that is?”
“Hell yeah,” Garner replied. “I can’t wait to see you guys.”
“Hold on, let me put you on speaker,” Thompson interrupted. “Hank wants to say hi.”
A few seconds later, Garner heard Hank’s voice sounding so happy it brought a smile to his face. “Hey, Gar, how’s sunny Key West?
“So far so good,” Garner replied, keeping the mysterious Mr. Clean to himself.
“Oh come on, is that all you have?” Hank teased.
“Give me a break,” Garner replied. “I just got here and I’m a slow starter.”
“Who are you trying to fool?” Hank asked. “I remember the day we first met. Slow starter, my ass.”
Garner chuckled. “Okay. Guilty as charged.”
Thompson cleared his throat. “Hey, guys? I’m listening. For Pete’s sake, the last thing I want to hear about is how you two flirted with one another the first day you met.”
Garner heard Thompson huff like he’d been elbowed in the ribcage or something, followed by a muffled “ouch.”
“Okay, fine,” Hank said over the speaker. “But at least tell us about the trip?”
Garner filled them both in on the details of his voyage, and before he knew it they were saying their goodbyes with promises of seeing each other very soon.
Garner stood and shoved his phone into his pocket just as the last remnants of the sun dipped below the horizon, leaving behind only the hues of oranges and yellows filling the western sky. He stared at the colorful display for a few minutes, downed the last of his wine, and took the empty glass down below. He checked himself in the mirror one last time. “As good as it’s gonna get,” he whispered to himself before grabbing his keys and heading topside again to begin his first night in Key West.
Walking along the dock, Garner recognized a new bounce in his step and realized he was looking forward to being with people again. Being on the water alone had been one of the best mind-clearing practices he’d ever experienced, and this particular leg of his trip had given him plenty of time to reflect on Hank and Thompson and the part he played in helping them. But as a psychiatrist he also knew how important human contact was to the spirit. Mr. Clean’s bizarre mug popped back into his mind again and he chuckled. Well, some human contact, that is, he thought.
Shaking his head to scatter the image of shaved heads, tattoos, and piercings, he tried to focus on what he wanted for dinner. “A real dinner?” he said to himself, feeling excited about his evening.
After walking few blocks, Garner turned onto Duval Street. The heart of Key West was buzzing with activity, and he didn’t know where to look. Standing in the middle of the street, he almost felt like he was in a mini Times Square. Bright lights filled the early evening night, and the sounds of the city mixed with music; cheerful voices and laughter were alive and bursting with anticipation.
Glancing up and down the crowded thoroughfare trying to determine where to go, he was mesmerized with the sights. There were tanned muscular half-naked men in every direction, some paired off and holding hands while others were obviously cruising the crowds looking for, well, whatever they were looking for.
Garner chuckled. It had been a very long time since he’d had been to Castro Street in San Francisco, where this sort of thing was expected, but this was Florida for God’s sake, the home of retired grandparents.
Standing on the street taking it all in, his voyeurism was abruptly interrupted by a loud noise much like a honking sound one would identify with a kids birthday party clown. When he turned, he realized his initial summation wasn’t very fair off. He instinctively jumped back just in time as a very large drag queen on a bicycle in full regalia and honking a horn flew by, shoving a flyer in his face. He accepted the flyer rather than get run over and read an advertisement for a drag show later that evening at The Crystal Room Cabaret in a place called La Te Da. He smiled, folded the flyer, and stuck it in his pocket.
Deciding it was definitely time to move on, Garner looked down Duval Street in each direction, and after careful consideration chose the way with the most activity. He weaved into the oncoming foot traffic and matched the pace of the other lollygaggers. Suddenly he had the overwhelming sensation of feeling like a kid in a candy store. Being well… Garner, the reaction took him totally by surprise, but instead of analyzing it as he normally would, he just went with it. Before very long he felt energized and the previously identified bounce in his step was even more pronounced by the way his boat shoes almost floated above the concrete. There was something interesting to see in every direction, and he reveled in the sights. After ten or so blocks, he absentmindedly reached up and rubbed the back of his sore neck. The perpetual smile on his face broadened as he realized he’d been moving his head from side to side for so long, afraid to miss anything, he’d totally given himself a crick.
Once again folding into the ever-moving crowd and feeling comfortable with the rhythm of the night, Garner casually strolled along the crowded sidewalk. He soaked up the informality of his temporary new home, slowing every now and then to take in the beauty or bizarreness of a piece of art placed in a gallery window and then he’d once more pick up his pace until something else caught his eye.
About an hour into his leisurely stroll, Garner’s stomach not so subtly made itself heard and began to protest the lack of attention. He quickly shifted his focus and began to search for cafés and restaurants that caught his eye, stopping to check out the menus posted proudly on the busy sidewalk. He eventually settled on a little restaurant called “Square One,” suddenly hungry for herb-roasted chicken and good ole home-style mashed potatoes.
Garner stepped inside and looked around. He noted the place was very crowded but still had that intimate feel and so far, he was very happy with his selection. He slipped the handsome host a twenty and asked for a small table tucked away in the corner with a view of the dining room and smiled appreciatively when he got exactly that.
After ordering a glass of wine, a salad, and the roasted chicken that had prompted his patronage as well as had his mouth watering, he sat back and simply watched. The romantic restaurant was filled with couples holding hands and cooing, some straight, some gay and lesbian, but everyone obviously feeling very comfortable with their public displays of affection. Garner thought about how far society had come in just his lifetime and realized that in some small way, his generation had helped to carve out a better life for today’s gay youth. He took a small bit of satisfaction in that.
With more than half of his journey on the water behind him, Garner was more relaxed than he’d been in a very long time. But again, instead of analyzing it, he went with the totally foreign feeling and smiled when he suddenly thought about his friends back in New York. “Uptight” was the word most of them would frequently use when asked to describe his personality. But right here, right now, uptight couldn’t have been further from the truth. He suddenly thought about the rainbow sticker his best friend Greg had adhered to his boat the day he left New York. When he’d found it, he’d known exactly who’d put it there and called Greg and gave him a shitload of grief. The only response he’d received was “If you’re going to cruise your uptight ass around God knows where, at least people need to know you’re gay. How else are you gonna get laid?”
The sticker hadn’t exactly gotten him laid yet, but it had had its benefits. It had been the way Hank identified him as gay when he’d come to tow his boat to a marina for repairs, and little did he know at the time, but that little sticker would put him right in the middle of an emotional love triangle with Hank and Thompson that would test his libido, not to mention his skills as a psychiatrist. But in the end it had all worked out the way it was supposed to, as do most things, and it hadn’t gotten him laid per se, but it did get Hank and Thompson laid. So in the end, he guessed Greg was right.
In the next few minutes his dinner came and was well worth the wait. Best roasted chicken he’d ever had and he savored it to the bitter end. After one more glass of wine and a few bites of Key Lime Pie, he paid the check and ventured out once again onto Duval Street.
He looked at his watch and saw it was nearing nine thirty. He pulled out the piece of paper he’d shoved in his pocket and read the details about the show in The Crystal Room Cabaret at La Te Da. The flyer read, “The Crystal Room Cabaret at La Te Da featuring John Webster and the many faces of the Crystal Room. And Special Guest, direct from Provincetown, none other than the Divine Miss Richfield.”
“What else do I have to do?” he said under his breath, checking the address and starting out for the club. “What the hell, it sounds like fun.”
Question: What was the name of the restaurant Garner chose for dinner?
June 14, 2014
Good Morning Again.
Scotty here with your second excerpt and question. Remember, you have to answer questions correctly from all three excerpts to be eligible to win.
Hawken “Hawk” Bristol slowly opened his eyes and blinked a few times, trying to bring something, anything into focus. Where in the fuck am I? He turned his head to scan the room and felt a stabbing pain that started at the base of his neck and quickly consumed his entire skull. Shit, that hurts!
He instinctively licked his dry lips and decided he would kill someone for a glass of cool water to quench his cottonmouth. And man do I have to pee. But before he could think about any of that, he had to figure out where he was.
While scanning the room with his eyes and trying his best to keep his head still, gingerly reached up and turned on the lamp beside the strange bed. He instantly froze when someone or something stirred next to him. He gently turned his head and blinked a few more times, to bring the object into focus. As his vision slowly cleared, he saw a naked man lying on his back, snoring lightly, wearing a leather harness, and covered in someone’s dried come. Fuck, Hawk! What did you do this time?
He intently studied the burly figure, to jog his memory, but no matter how hard he tried, nothing concrete came to mind. After a while, he thought he vaguely remembered the man’s face but certainly didn’t know his name or how in the fuck they ended up here. Wherever the hell here was.
He gently laid his head back down on the pillow and closed his eyes, trying to recall the events of the night before. Stopping for a quick drink on the way home. He remembered that much. So far so good, Hawk, nothing wrong with that. Then he remembered some nice older bear of a man buying him a tequila shooter. That’s when all the trouble had started. Holy shit! Slowly, the events of the night started to unfold.
He squeezed his eyes tighter against the vivid memories, but they forced their way in anyway. The Jagermeister. Stripping on the bar. And…oh hell no! The back-of-the-bar blowjob all came rushing back to him. Oh crap, Hawk! You did it again!
No longer able to ignore his overflowing bladder, Hawk sluggishly sat up in the bed in search of a bathroom, doing his best not to wake the snoring man lying next to him. He slowly swung his legs over the side of the bed and winced from the pain in his lower extremity. Fuck! My ass hurts.
Once upright and relatively steady, he checked around for his clothes. There was clothing strewn everywhere, including a leather jockstrap and leather chaps hanging from the curtain rod. I know those aren’t mine.
Hawk finally spotted his red T-shirt on the floor next to a chair that had an empty bottle of lube and a box of condoms still sitting on the arm. That’s why my ass hurts. He quietly crossed the room and picked up the red T-shirt and silently cursed when the other half remained on the floor. He reluctantly dropped the piece of cotton and shook his head in disgust when he had the flashback of the shirt being ripped off him.
Appalled with himself, Hawk looked around again for anything else he might recognize. Then he spotted a familiar black and silver studded belt on a pair of black jeans hanging on a doorknob across the room. Mine! He tiptoed over to get his pants and was relieved when he saw a bathroom on the other side of the door. Hawk lifted his jeans off the doorknob and silently opened the bathroom door, closing it behind him. He checked his pockets for his keys, wallet, and cellphone and was relieved when they were all there. He leaned against the back of the door and closed his eyes. Almost there, Hawk. All you have to do is get out of here without waking the guy.
Carrying his jeans, Hawk crossed the bathroom and stood in front of the toilet. He looked down and was horrified to see he was still wearing a condom, complete with last night’s sperm deposit filling the tip. Round two? I sure hope I gave a well as I got. Then he panicked when he realized he hadn’t seen a condom on the mystery dude. Fuck, Hawk! Did you let him fuck you without a condom?
He slipped the condom off and was relieved when he saw a used condom in the trashcan next to the toilet. Hoping it was from last night, he added his and quietly relieved himself. He debated on whether to flush or not and decided against it, still hoping to get away without the morning-after rituals. He drank water from the faucet and splashed a little on his face, taking a few extra seconds to wipe his now unsheathed penis and dry off. He dropped the towel on the floor and put his hand on the doorknob, slowly opening the bathroom door. He peeked into the bedroom—Still out cold, thank you, Bear God—and scanned the room for his underwear, boots, and socks. The rest of his clothes were nowhere to be found, and Hawk cursed under his breath. Those were my favorite fucking boots.
He stooped down to look under the bed and suddenly the harnessed lump in the bed started to stir. Fuck the boots! He made a split-second decision and bolted for the door.
Naked as the day he was born, Hawksix-foot, two-inch frame down a set of stairs, taking them two at a time as if he were a small child. His pants were flapping behind him and his belt buckle was rattling loud enough to wake the dead. He stopped at the bottom of the stairs just long enough to put his jeans on and look for an exit. Spotting the door, he looked around and breathed a sigh of relief when there was no one between him and his freedom.
With renewed energy, Hawk burst out of the door and squinted against the morning sunshine. He immediately started scanning the area to try and get his bearings and saw the prominent sign over his head: La Te Da. He whistled. Way to go, Hawk. At least you weren’t slumming. He’d spent the night at one of Duval Street’s most upscale inns.
Then he quietly cursed under his breath when he remembered La Te Da was on the opposite end of Duval Street from the where he lived.
People stared openly as Hawk took the walk of shame, hobbling down Duval Street barefoot, hung over and in desperate need of coffee. Of course, he knew they weren’t staring because he’d woken up with a total stranger still wearing a used condom. Or that he couldn’t find his underwear or his favorite boots, they were staring because Hawk was a big scary guy with a shaved head, piercings in every visible, as well as covered orifice, and tattoos from head to toe.
Hawk mostly tuned out the gawking morning tourist, too hung over to care as he started his long walk to the other end of Duval Street to the marina where his boat, which also just happened to be his home, was docked.
His head was still throbbing when, six blocks later, he stepped inside the front door of Urban Spoon Coffee Shop and saw his best friend Justin Morrison behind the counter.
“Whoa!” The barista said when Hawk walked up to the counter. “Look what the cat dragged in. You look like shit,” he added under his breath.
Justin stepped out from behind the counter with both hands on his hips. He lifted one finger up to his chin and looked Hawk up and down, giving him the onceover. “You know the policy, dipshit. No shirt. No shoes. No service.”
“Fuck you, Justin, just give me my usual.”
Hawk’s best friend smiled coyly and sauntered back behind the counter. “Coffee’s on the house if you give me a little blow by blow, so to speak, of your conquest last night. You know, just a little something to get me through my lifelong dry spell.”
Hawk didn’t answer. He stood tall, simply glaring at Justin.
“Oh come on, Hawk, please!” Justin yelled over the whirling coffee grinder. “At least give me hint.”
Hawk felt his blood pressure rising, but he kept his cool. He wasn’t so sure he wouldn’t be doing the same thing if the shoe, or lack thereof, was on the other foot.
Justin put the cup of coffee on the counter and rested his chin in his hands. “Did your date involve strip poker?”
“What kind of stupid question is that?” Hawk snapped, taking a sip of the hot liquid and scowling from the burn.
Justin scrunched his face and gave him a disappointed look. “Because you lost your shoes and your shirt, idiot?”
Oh I get it! Hawk had to smile a little at that one.
“So are you gonna tell me?” Justin asked again.
Starting to get annoyed, Hawk leaned over the counter and whispered, “I can’t tell you.”
“Why the fuck not?” Justin whined.
“Because I don’t fucking remember.”
“Oh, Hawk, not again?” his best friend questioned. “You were so out of it you don’t remember anything or did you black out completely?”
“Don’t know, but I don’t remember much,” Hawk said. “But I know something happened because I still had a full condom on when I woke up and my ass hurts like hell.”
“OMG,” Justin said, throwing his head back in laughter.
“Keep it down,” Hawk said, looking around. “Do you have to make sure that everyone knows my business?”
“Honey,” Justin said holding up his index finger. “My mamma used to always say if you don’t want folks to know you did something, don’t do it.”
“Fine!” Hawk slapped a five-dollar bill on the counter, took his coffee, and headed for the door.
Hawk heard Justin yell, “Coffee’s on the house, but I’ll keep this as a tip. Call me later,” then the door slammed behind him.
After six more blocks, Hawk’s feet were getting sore from walking on the pavement barefoot, so he hailed a pedicab to take him the rest of the way.
When the pedicab finally reached the marina, Hawk’s skin was damp, his palms clammy, and he was starting to tremble all over. It took every bit of concentration he could muster just to pay the young college student, who’d just pedaled him almost all the way down Duval Street, without hurling.
He climbed out of the pedicab on shaky legs and gingerly made his way into the marina and down towards the piers. When he was halfway down his dock, he spotted a new sailboat a few of slips up from his. He squinted against the morning sun trying to read the name. AquaRemedy? No, that’s not right. Aqua… something. Therapy? Yeah, Therapy. AquaTherapy.
While he was busy trying to read the name of the boat, he completely missed the guy with the hose in his hand rinsing it off. Even from a distance Hawk could see the guy appeared to be good-looking and well built, but his body language and the way he moved said nothing but uptight. He was so stiff, almost as if someone had forced a huge dildo up his ass and ordered him to hold it in without touching it. The closer Hawk got, the stiffer the guy got.
At this point, all Hawk wanted to do was get to his boat and lie down before he either passed out or blew chucks all over the dock, but as he approached, the stranger was watching him with a look on his face that struck Hawk as odd. He brushed it off, not in the mood to deal with anyone, dropped his head as he walked by without acknowledging the guy, and went straight to his boat. He made it as far as his bed before he collapsed.
Questions: How much money did Hawk put on the counter before he left the coffee shop?
June 14, 2014
Hey Guys, It’s me Scotty Cade here again. Here’s your first excerpt and question. I hope you enjoy!
Garner Holt stood behind the helm of his Beneteau Oceanis 55, a moderate wind blowing through his shoulder-length sun-streaked brown hair. AquaTherapy, as he’d so aptly named her, was heading south toward Key West cutting through the clear azure waters of the Hawk Channel, just off the south Florida coastline. AquaTherapy’s sails were tuned perfectly to the southwest winds and she was cruising along at a brisk six and a half knots, heeling a comfortable eighteen degrees.
The closer Garner got to his destination, the lighter his heart felt and the better his mood became. He turned his head upward as the warm mid-December sun blanketed him with her glorious rays. He inhaled deeply and his lungs filled with crisp salty sea air. God, I love the feeling of freedom when I’m on the water.
Garner was the only child of a pediatrician, who was now retired and living on Long Island, and a mortgage broker who, when he died, had enjoyed a lifelong love for sailing, which he had passed on to his only son. But when Garner had gone off to college, he’d become very driven, almost obsessed with his education and put sailing and his family on the back burner for the most part. His dedication to his education didn’t go unrecognized, and when he graduated at the top of his class, he was immediately hired by Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. After only four years, his Ivy League education, strong work ethic, and unmatched dedication earned him the title as Head of Psychiatry, the youngest doctor to hold the coveted position. But as with all positions of power, it wasn’t without its drawbacks. The grueling schedule was a tough one that left him absolutely no time for a personal life, and combining that with his extremely independent personality meant the thought of any type of a relationship was a disaster waiting to happen. He’d tried a few times, but after his last boyfriend told him where to shove his job, he’d given up and decided it wasn’t worth the headache or the heartache.
By the end of his eighth year, his career was definitely on track, but the pressure and stress were finally starting to take their toll. He’d just barely survived that year and went into his ninth battling severe burnout and exhaustion. One February morning he didn’t get out of bed. For… two weeks. That’s when he decided he’d had enough and started the process of early retirement. He’d sold everything, bought a sailboat, and set out to find new winds to fill his sails.
When he’d pulled out of New York harbor and rounded the point at Sandy Hook, New Jersey, he’d been a different man. He’d spent a couple months on the water, taking his time meandering the eastern seaboard, exploring the Delaware and Chesapeake Bays and picking up the Intracoastal Waterway in Norfolk, VA.
His well-laid plan was temporarily derailed when his engine failed in Savannah, Georgia and had to be rescued by a very handsome BoatUS Captain named Hank Charming. He was towed to the Thundercloud Marina where the marina mechanic uncovered a manufacturer’s error that couldn’t be repaired. His boat required a new engine and that came with a six-week lag time.
After the initial shock of being stranded for six weeks wore off, Garner tried to figure out what he was going to do to keep himself entertained. Luckily, he didn’t have to wonder too long. The day before he’d been towed in, the owner of the marina, Thompson Gray, had lost his dockhand and was in dire need of a replacement. After a brief meeting, Thompson offered him the job and he gladly accepted.
But he quickly learned his help was needed not just as a dockhand, but in another capacity, one he was all too familiar with.
After working with Thompson during the day and dating Hank Charming at night, Garner realized these guys had a very strong emotional connection to one another. He soon learned they shared a very complicated past, an even shakier present, and little or no chance for a future. They interacted on a daily basis when needed, but their past was clouded with misconceptions and untruths that were slowly eating away at both of them. In the end, with Garner’s help, Hank and Thompson were able to find their way back to one another and were now happier and stronger than ever. And Garner was still alone with no complications, just the way he liked it.
The part that surprised him the most was that while he was acting as Hank and Thompson’s unofficial therapist during those six weeks, he became very close to them both. And because of that, Garner had left Savannah with mixed emotions and a heavy heart. He’d never planned to stay, he had a horizon to chase, but that didn’t make leaving his new friends any easier.
On the morning he’d pulled out of the marina, they’d all promised to stay in touch, but Garner knew all too well that life sometimes gets in the way of the best intentions.
With AquaTherapy now cruising along on autopilot, Garner stretched out in the cockpit and basked in the Florida sunshine. He listened to the latest NOAA weather report on his VHF radio, and the weather was going to be clear and picture perfect for his last few days of his journey. Eager to get to Key West, he decided to sail straight through the night and make it to his destination by tomorrow morning.
“Just one more day,” he said to the ever-present dolphins dancing alongside his boat. “We’re almost home free, guys.”
Garner sipped a glass of Sancerre as he watched the spectacular sun hover above the western horizon, the yellows, oranges, and magentas all blending into one magnificent blur and dancing on the water, then slowly sinking into the abyss.
After dusk, with his GPS and radar set to alert him to any imminent danger, Garner sailed through the night, the bright moonlight shimmering like diamonds as it reflected off the deep sapphire colored water. He dozed every now and then, tweaked his sails as needed, but mostly gazed at the billowy blue velvet sky against the distant lights of the Florida coastline.
When the morning sun peeked above the horizon, Garner smiled and thought of his friends Hank and Thompson back in Georgia, probably watching the same sun rising over Savannah. He kissed his index finger, held it up in the air and wished them a heartfelt good morning.
By seven thirty, Garner was almost giddy. He was only five miles away from Key West, so he radioed ahead and received his docking instructions from the Harbor Master. With his sails furled and AquaTherapy motoring along at five knots, he pulled into the Conch Harbor Marina sporting a smile as broad as the dawn.
Following instructions, he pulled along a T-head pier and, with the help of a dockhand, secured his boat and connected the water and electricity.
By eight thirty Garner had traded the fleece, blue jeans, and boat shoes he’d worn overnight for shorts, a T-shirt, and no shoes. He was on the dock barefoot rinsing the dried salt off his boat when he saw someone walking down the dock in his direction. As the stranger got closer, Garner could see that the man’s head was shaved and he was wearing low-hanging black jeans, but no shirt or shoes. His skull, as well as every other part of his exposed body, including his feet, was covered in brightly colored tattoos.
Still proceeding toward him, Garner could see that the man appeared to be pierced in every visible orifice, sporting a stainless steel nose ring, a loop in his left eyebrow, studs up and down both of his ears, and a bar with balls on either end in his bottom lip. Garner did his best not to stare, but he couldn’t help it, the man reminded him of a pierced and tattooed Mr. Clean.
Looking farther down, the stranger’s nipples were pierced, as was his bellybutton. A chill ran down Garner’s spine and he shuttered when he thought about what else might be pierced that he couldn’t see. And just to push the entire look over the edge, the man wore silver-dollar-sized solid black discs in his stretched earlobes.
Garner started to feel uneasy, and his heart rate began to increase. He quickly looked around for any other boaters milling around the dock that might offer a little support if he needed it, but it was no one to be seen.
His next thought was some sort of weapon. Garner decided he couldn’t hose the guy to death if the need presented itself, but everything he could possibly use for a weapon was aboard AquaTherapy.
When the guy was about ten feet from him, Garner’s felt the adrenaline pumping through his veins at breakneck speed. He didn’t make eye contact, but tightened his grip on the hose and held his breath. Shit! He’s coming right at me. Calm down, you sissy. You lived in New York City for how long?
Garner spread his feet apart and moved the hose to his left hand, fisting his right. I might go down, but not without a fight. Just four feet away. Three Feet. Two feet. One foot.
When Garner could finally see the figure in his peripheral vision, the scary dude lowered his head and walked right past him.
Garner exhaled with relief and willed himself to calm down. He nonchalantly turned his head and followed the stranger, but the guy kept on walking until he reached a fishing boat three slips down named ReelCrazy and hopped aboard. Appropriate name!
QUESTION: What size were the discs in Mr. Clean’s hears?
June 14, 2014
Scotty Cade here and I’m looking so forward to chatting with you today. I would like to introduce you to “Chasing the Horizon,” which released yesterday over at Dreamspinner Press. “Chasing the Horizon” is the sequel to “Sunrise Over Savannah,” and below is a link if you want to check it out.
Now these are two independent novels so you don’t have to read Sunrise Over Savannah first, but for those of you that haven’t already read Sunrise and plan to, I won’t give away too much at this point, but here’s a spoiler alert. After the next paragraph, I post the blurb which sort of gives away the ending of Sunrise in order to set up this book.
Both of these stories were inspired by a real life people in very real places. Thompson Gray, Garner Holt, and Hank Charming meet in Sunrise Over Savannah and spend a great deal of time together as friends. Together they identify and work through a great deal of personal issues that are all woven throughout the story and eventually two of them end up together, which leaves one to chase the horizon for his happily ever after. On his journeys, the lone wolf meets bad boy Hawken Bristol in a very odd way that sends hearts racing and eventually ignites a cat and mouse game like you’ve never seen. Okay, here’s the SPOILER ALERT!
Here’s the blurb!
Needing a lifestyle change, Garner Holt, an uptight workaholic psychologist, buys a sailboat and trades in his prestigious job in New York City for a life on the water. After engine failure and six weeks in Savannah, Georgia for repair, he arrives in Key West, Florida early one morning and encounters a half-dressed hooligan walking along the docks of the marina. Garner immediately thinks this barefoot and shirtless man with a shaved head, multiple tattoos, and piercings in every orifice is going to rob him. He prepares for the worst. Instead, the stranger passes Garner by and climbs on a boat two slips down. With the threat of danger gone, Garner is surprisingly intrigued.
Hawken Bristol is used to being on the receiving end of stereotypes. He sees the fear on the stranger’s face, recognizes the rigidity in his stance, but is too tired from his wild night of partying to engage the frightened stranger. A few cat and mouse encounters around town lead to an uncanny attraction. However, after Garner helps Hawken dock his boat in a windstorm, sparks start to fly. But this new liaison brings up old baggage that threatens to derail everything they have going.
So there you have it, the premise for “Chasing the Horizon.” Today I will be giving away three Chasing The Horizon eBooks and here’s how I’m gonna do it. Over the course of the morning, I will post three excerpts from the story. At the end of each excerpt, I will ask a question related to that particular excerpt. Starting at two o’clock this afternoon, you can posts your answers and everyone who answers all three questions correctly will be entered in the drawing. At four o’clock I will posts the correct answers and announce the winners.
You’ll need to check in multiple times because you have to get all three answers correct to be entered into the drawing.
May 8, 2014
As a writer of a few series, I often get asked which book in my series should be read first. Because I write each book as a standalone (really, I promise!), I always answer the same way: “Whichever one sounds most interesting to you.” But on May 8th, there’s a new answer to the question because that day – from midnight EST until midnight EST – Dreamspinner is putting one book in each of my series on sale for $.99! So which of my books should you read first? On May 8th the answers are:
If you’ve been hesitant to try my books because you’re not a fan of series or you don’t know where to start, now’s the time to give it a go. And if you’ve already read my books, please let other readers know so they can try them too. Thank you!
May 7, 2014
The paperback of ‘Cleats in Clay’ goes to… Jennifer F.
The paperback of ‘Shamrock Green’ goes to… Susan
and the grand prize, ebook copies of ‘Duanta Beads’, ‘Lavender Skies’, ‘Raven Feathers’, and a paperback of ‘Shamrock Green’ goes to … Doris
Congrats to the winners and I want to thank everybody for stopping by
May 7, 2014
Thanks to all you folks that participated.
I’ll be announcing the winners in a few minutes….