Center of Gravity | Neve Wilder
Nook Island #1
I’m delighted to welcome author Neve Wilder to the blog today with a Guest Post discussing her debut novel Center of Gravity.
A big thank you to Mirrigold for having me. I’m so excited to share my debut novel with y’all. I thought I’d talk a little about the two main characters, Alex and Rob, and how they came to be.
Rob Macomb was the first to appear to me. I saw him standing in front of a window, peering out through the blinds at this funky orange moving truck as it lumbered down the street. I could tell by his posture and expression that he wasn’t happy about this. He’d been through a rough year, after all. I have a huge soft spot for him, though. He tries to do the “right” thing but he gets in the way of himself a lot.
He’s a stubborn, organized, nose-to-the-grindstone type who keeps ending up with heaps of responsibilities thrust upon him—including his very own unwanted fur baby—because he’s so loyal and dedicated. It leads to a lot of loneliness, though, which is where Alex comes in.
Alex Andrews is the ruiner of Rob’s best laid plans to keep his head down, push through, and focus solely on his career. Initially, I had a clear vision of Alex’s physical appearance, but his inner workings were fairly elusive until I wrote the second chapter of the book and dove headlong into his perspective.
What I discovered was that he was much more cerebral and thoughtful than I’d given him credit for. A fun-loving guy and a shameless flirt, yes, but with plenty of his own struggles to deal with. And no shortage of quirks and oddball moments. Like Rob, he’s stubborn, and that shared trait makes for some serious tension between them that I had so much fun writing, because when the breaking point is reached, oh man, it’s pretty intense.
Excerpt from Center of Gravity. In this excerpt, Rob has dinner with Alex’s family and Alex is left reeling by the experience.
Rob walked the length of the room, studying some of the old paintings I’d done before deciding to switch from painting to three-dimensional design.
“Who’s this?” He separated one of the canvases from the rest. Alain’s wide, dark eyes and petulant mouth stared back at us.
“A guy I dated a couple of years ago. Alain.”
Alain was definitely that. “And very shallow, too. But he’s responsible for the nicer portion of my wardrobe.”
Rob smiled and replaced the canvas, setting his wine glass down to pick up a large sketchbook. He found a folding chair, flipped it down, and asked with a gesture toward the sketchbook, “Can I?”
“Sure.” I took another healthy swallow of wine as he flipped through the pages. “Live studies,” I explained.
“I don’t know a lot about art, but these look pretty good to me.” His eyes flickered up in my direction, a subtle shift in them. Respect, maybe?
“Are you surprised?”
“No. Yes. Maybe a little, I suppose.”
“I guess I always think of artists as moody, broody types.”
“I am, sometimes. The way you are apparently capable of being incredibly charming, sometimes.”
He prompted me to continue with a lift of his brows.
“At dinner, what was that? You banter back and forth, you know a ton about cars. You’re funny. It’s very different from the guy I work next to every day. The uptight one who says he doesn’t have a favorite color.”
“I don’t.” His eyes returned to the paper as he flipped a page then stopped short, his mouth slackening as his lips parted. I knew which one he’d gotten to. Another abandoned project idea. The paper was filled with my thighs and my cock rendered in charcoal, Alain’s unmistakable lips wrapped around me, his eyes wide and wicked as he sucked me off.
Rob’s eyes darted all over the page.
“Want to volunteer to be my live model sometime?” I teased. Yep, definitely over the threshold of tipsy now.
Rob slowly turned the page, chasing a charcoal line with his fingertip as I drifted closer until I stood in front of him and he had to look up at me.
“You know,” he said, closing the cover of the sketchbook and setting it aside. “I think ninety percent of your persistence is a conquer mentality. You just want something because someone has told you you can’t have it.”
I’d considered this possibility. It might even have been true, but I’d had part of him and I still wanted more of him. And he didn’t. Or wouldn’t let himself. The latter was the sticking point because I thought he wanted it too, so why wouldn’t he just let himself go with me?
“At least thirty-five percent of it is for the joy of frustrating you.” Gently, carefully, I slid onto his lap.
“I don’t need to be more frustrated than I am, Alex.” His gaze drifted up from my legs straddling him to meet mine. He didn’t push me away, but his hand closed over my thigh in a way that felt more like a warning than an invitation to shift closer.
“I think ninety percent of your stubbornness is because you’ve convinced yourself you shouldn’t have something you want. You’re just going to keep on feeding your misery, shoveling it in by the spoonful because you’re punishing yourself for something that didn’t work out.”
“It’s more complicated than that.” There was agitation in the way he raked his fingers through his hair.
“It doesn’t have to be. You’re just afraid. But there’s no reason to be. I’m not asking you for anything.”
He was hard. I could feel him beneath me like steel. His hand dropped from my thigh when I leaned in to run my open mouth across his jaw. He inhaled a shaky breath and I darted my tongue out, tasting him just beneath his ear lobe.
Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
Length: 98,000 words approx.
Cover Design: Jay Aheer
When life comes apart at the seams, love is the only thread that can repair it.
Accountant Rob Macomb has a stable job that he’s good at and… that’s about it. A year of nothing but heartache leaves him seeking refuge from loneliness and grief behind spreadsheets, punishing daily runs, and the occasional anonymous tryst. He wants only to bury the past and focus on his career, but he has one last task to complete: pack up his parent’s quaint beachside house and put it on the market.
Alex Andrews is a budding artist with a penchant for Converse, Cracker Jack, and piercings. Family turmoil sidelines his dreams of finishing art school and building a career in three-dimensional design, and now he’s doing whatever he can to keep everyone afloat.
When Alex shows up as a part of the moving crew hired to help Rob clean out the house, what should be a simple move becomes far more complex. Because it’s not the first time they’ve met, and their last encounter was memorable for all the wrong reasons.
The attraction between them is undeniable and intense, but Rob’s hell-bent on pushing everyone away, and Alex is on the verge of spinning out of control.
Can a grumpy accountant and a bootstrapping artist find their center of gravity together, or are they on a collision course to heartbreak?
*An emotionally-charged, slow burn MM romance featuring an age gap, hurt/comfort themes, and a hard-won happily ever after. This is the standalone first in the Nook Island, Georgia series.*
October 4 – Bike Book Reviews, OMG Reads, October 5 – Love Bytes Reviews, October 6 – Amy’s MM Romance Reviews, October 8 – Sexy Erotic Xciting, October 9 – Mirrigold – Mutterings & Musings, October 10 – Megan’s Media Melange, October 11 – Jessie G Books, October 12 – The Novel Approach, Lillian Francis, Bayou Book Junkie, October 13 – Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, October 16 – Joyfully Jay
Neve Wilder lives in the dirty South, where the summers are hot and the winters are…sometimes cold. She is a mom to three rambunctious weebeasts who have joined forces in a mission to carpet the family home with toys and small items that really suck to step on at six in the morning.
She reads promiscuously, across multiple genres, but her favorite stories always contain an element of romance. Incidentally, this is also what she likes to write. Slow-burners with delicious tension? Yes. Whiplash-inducing page-turners, also yes. Down and dirty scorchers? Yes. And every flavor in between.
She believes David Bowie was the sexiest musician to ever live, and she’s always game to nerd out on anything from music to writing.
And finally, she believes that love conquers all. Except the heat index in July. Nothing can conquer that bastard.
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