Tag Archives: road trip

Blog Tour: Hairpin Curves by Elia Winters

Hairpin Curves | Elia Winters

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Publisher: Carina Press (Carina Adores)

Release Date: July 28, 2020

Length: 320 pages

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B083FZTVVY

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hairpin-curves-elia-winters/1135927062

Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/hairpin-curves/id1493529762

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Elia_Winters_Hairpin_Curves?id=_N7HDwAAQBAJ

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/hairpin-curves

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Blurb

Megan Harris had hopes of seeing the world, but at twenty-five she’s never even left Florida. Now a wedding invitation lures her to Quebec…in February.

When her ex-friend Scarlett offers to be her plus-one (yeah, that’s a whole story) and suggests they turn the journey into an epic road trip, Megan reluctantly agrees to the biggest adventure of her life.

A week together in a car is a surefire way to kill a crush, and Scarlett Andrews has had a big one on Megan for years. The important thing is fixing their friendship.

As the miles roll away, what starts as harmless road-trip games and rest-stop dares escalates into something like intimacy.

And when a surprise snowstorm forces Megan and Scarlett to hunker down without the open road as distraction, they’ve got a bigger challenge than making it to the church on time: facing the true nature of their feelings for each other.

Excerpt

Megan hadn’t brought a lot of clothing on this trip, anticipating getting to do laundry at some hotel along the way, but she had a couple of nice outfits in addition to the dress she planned to wear for the wedding.

She selected an emerald green sweater dress from her suitcase. She was normally more of a jeans kind of girl, but this dress made her feel cute, and it felt very Nashville when she paired it with some knee-high boots. She gathered up her clothes and undergarments and headed for the bathroom.

When she left the bathroom, Scarlett was pinning up her curls into two buns up near the top of her head. It was one of the cutest hairstyles she wore, and one that always made Megan wish for something other than her own super-straight brown hair. Scarlett looked away from her hair when Megan entered the room, her gaze skimming down Megan’s body in a way that made Megan burn up inside.

Before Scarlett could say something, whether it was going to be a compliment or not, Megan blurted out, “I don’t know what to do with my hair.”

Scarlett tapped her lips, studying her like she was an interesting painting. “You want me to curl it?” Scarlett asked.

“My hair doesn’t curl.” Megan had never had any luck with that. “It’s too fine.”

Scarlett tucked the final bobby pin into her own style and walked over to Megan, running her hand through Megan’s hair. The contact sent a chill all down Megan’s spine. Oh, she wanted Scarlett to keep touching her like that.

“It’s pretty fine.” Scarlett gathered up a bunch of Megan’s hair in her hands. Megan shivered.

Hopefully Scarlett wouldn’t notice the shiver. “It would curl if you didn’t wash it so much. You need it to get dirty.”

Megan laughed, and it sounded breathless coming out. “I don’t really do dirty.”

Scarlett still had the hold on her hair, and she tipped Megan’s head back to look at her. “You sure about that?”

The unspoken after last night hung in the air between them. Megan sucked in a breath, her lips parting, and their gazes locked. Then it was like Scarlett had suddenly realized what she said, and she slid her hands out of Megan’s hair and backed away.

“Your hair is cute just like it is. You don’t need to do anything to it.”

She turned toward the mirror again and fumbled with her makeup bag. Was it Megan’s imagination, or were Scarlett’s hands shaking?

“You, uh, ever think about cutting it?” Scarlett asked.

Megan was still rattled and warm all over. It took her a moment to process Scarlett’s words. “Oh. Yeah, actually. Sometimes I think about a pixie cut. Cutting all of it off. But I get nervous.”

“It’s a big step. But you’ve got the perfect heart-shaped face for it.” Scarlett glanced over, then back at the mirror. “If you ever want to do it, there’s probably a million great salons along our road trip. Could be a fun change. And it grows back.”

She was talking fast. Megan was having a hard time thinking. “Yeah. Maybe. I’ll…do my makeup.”
She had the new makeup from Sephora to try, and while it wasn’t her area of expertise, she put together what she hoped was a good look—not super fancy, but she didn’t end up looking like a clown, either. When she returned from the bathroom, Scarlett was done.

“What about lipstick?” Scarlett asked.

“I’m wearing some.” Megan resisted the urge to touch her lips in reflex.

Scarlett frowned. “Nude?”

“It’s light pink.”

“You need a bold lip. Something really red. It would bring the whole look together.”

“I don’t have anything really red.” Megan stuck with all light pinks whenever she got makeup, which wasn’t very often. Red was showy and ostentatious, and she wasn’t the type of person to try to get noticed.

Scarlett rummaged in her bag and pulled out a lipstick. “Here. Let me.” She touched Megan’s chin, gently tilting her head back, and then began to apply the lipstick with focused precision.

Megan tried not to shiver as Scarlett held her face perfectly still, her attention locked onto Megan’s lips. When she finished, they held that pose, and desire flared up in Megan like a flashover. She wanted to lean forward and ruin that perfect lipstick against Scarlett’s berry-red mouth.

Copyright © 2020 by Elia Winters

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Carina Adores is home to highly romantic contemporary love stories featuring beloved romance tropes, where LGBTQ+ characters find their happily-ever-afters.

A new Carina Adores title is available each month in trade paperback, ebook and audiobook formats

About The Author

Print

RITA™ Award-winning author Elia Winters is a fat, tattooed, polyamorous bisexual who loves petting cats and fighting the patriarchy. She holds a Master’s degree in English Literature and teaches at a small rural high school, where she also runs the drama club.

In her spare time, she is equally likely to be found playing tabletop games, kneading bread, cross-stitching, or binge-watching Marie Kondo.

A sex educator and kink-positive feminist, Elia reviews sex toys, speaks at kink conventions, and writes geeky, kinky, cozy erotic romance. She currently lives in western Massachusetts with her loving husband and their weird pets.

Social Media

Website: https://eliawinters.com | Twitter: https://twitter.com/eliawinters

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Series Review Tour: The Midwest Series by Brigham Vaughn

The Midwest Series | Brigham Vaughn

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Overall Heat Rating: 4 flames

Publisher: Two Peninsulas Press

Cover Artist: Brigham Vaughn

Series Blurb

It was more than a decision, it was serendipity.

A former college hockey star’s decision to come out of the closet and reunite with his high school boyfriend does more than change the direction of their lives.

It sets into motion events that will lead to their respective best friends, a former hockey player and a psychology major, being stuck on a summer road trip together.

They cross paths with another old friend, an injured pro baseball player whose been forced to move in with his physical therapist. Old hurts are healed and the six become close friends.

When a night out for the guys leads to their meeting an Olympic hopeful swimmer who is fascinated by a drag queen it’s clear that none of their lives will ever be the same.

They are standalone stories featuring four different couples. Reading in order is helpful but not required.

Bully & Exit

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Length: 78 986 words/ 264 pages

Release Date: First edition – July 9, 2015 Second edition – June 30, 2020

Universal Link:

Available on Kindle Unlimited

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Blurb

It’s time to leave college and the closet behind.

Nathan Rhodes has put hockey first for most of his life, but as graduation looms, he has a different goal in mind. He needs to come out and reclaim his first love. If only Caleb will believe him…

Theater geek Caleb Stockwell gave up on love when his boyfriend chose the closet over being with an openly bisexual guy. Now, he hides his heartbreak behind a string of casual hookups. He loves the drama on stage, but he’s done with the drama of Nathan Rhodes. For good.

Nathan is determined to right the wrongs of four years ago, but the clock is ticking.

One month until he and Caleb go their separate ways. One month to take a final shot at winning Caleb’s heart back.

Win or lose, everything is on the line.

Excerpt

Bully & Exit

Nathan’s voice was soft when he spoke, gentle like it’d always been. “Caleb Stockwell. I’ve been looking for you.”

Caleb cleared his throat and ignored him, tipping the bottle up for another long drink. He licked the spiciness from his lips as he debated making another run for it. There was a shrub blocking his way in one direction and a hockey player in the other. Even if he hadn’t been drinking, the odds weren’t in his favor. “Nathan Rhodes,” he managed.

“Damn I can’t believe it’s you!” Nathan leaned in and Caleb pulled back, uncomfortable with him being so close.

Caleb laughed bitterly. “It’s me. Now that you’ve satisfied your curiosity, you can run along.” He motioned with his hand, encouraging Nathan to leave.

“It’s really good to see you,” Nathan said, ignoring him. He took a seat on the pile of discarded construction materials, his knees brushing Caleb’s as he lowered himself down. Caleb pulled away as if scorched.

“Yeah? Too bad I can’t say the same,” he muttered, his head swimming as the alcohol began to hit him. He eyed Nathan’s long, long legs and the way he was pinned in by them, remembering the way they’d felt tangled with his as they came, panting shallowly against each other’s skin. It brought it all back; the scent of Nathan’s cologne, the taste of his skin, the way Caleb’s heart raced in his chest when Nathan held him close. It brought back the memories the ones he’d worked so hard to run from. The good and the bad. The sharp, intense happiness of falling for Nathan. The aching, crushing hurt that paralyzed Caleb for months after Nathan was no longer in his life. Everything he’d buried four years ago and vowed never to touch again.

He caught the first glimpse of doubt on Nathan’s face. “Are you okay, Caleb?”

“Oh, I’m mother fucking peachy,” he snarked and took another long drink. “I’ve made it through four fucking years trying to ignore the fact we’re on the same campus and with barely a month left in my senior year, I thought maybe I’d managed to pull it off. But nooo, Lowell had to drag me to this goddamn party, and of course you showed up too. Just my fucking luck.”

He raised the bottle again, but Nathan wrapped a hand around the neck and tugged. He was stronger than Caleb, so Caleb let go, afraid he’d end up getting pulled into Nathan’s lap if he didn’t. Nathan took a drink and passed the bottle back, licking the taste of rum off his lips before he spoke. “You’re so angry at me.”

“Ya think?” Caleb snarled. “Didn’t it ever occur to you I would be? What the hell makes you think you can waltz in here and pretend like all the shit that went down between us didn’t happen?” He tried to stand, but Nathan’s dark denim-clad knees were on either side of his, pinning him in place. He pried the bottle from Caleb’s suddenly limp fingers and set it aside.

“I don’t think that,” Nathan protested. “I was just glad to see you and I … I wanted a chance to apologize. I didn’t … I wanted …”

Caleb’s lips parted in surprise as cool fingers framed his face and for the first time in four long years, Nathan’s lips were pressed to his again. Involuntarily, Caleb closed his eyes, feeling a rush of heat wash over him, taking him right back to the first time. Before Nathan broke his heart.

Push & Pull

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Length: 91 467 words/ 316 pages

Release Date: October 24, 2018

Universal Link:

Available on Kindle Unlimited

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Blurb

It was just supposed to be a road trip.

Former hockey player Brent Cameron has a plan now that he’s out of the closet. He’ll take a summer road trip, find a job, and settle down with a fellow jock. Lowell Prescott is not part of that plan, but when Brent’s travel companion bails, he’s the only option.

Out and proud, Lowell has a love of sports, a flair of fashion, and a disdain for anything conventional. Burned by past relationships, he’s wary of jocks who want to change him—and that includes Brent Cameron.

Tempers flare and sparks fly as the miles disappear behind them. Just as it seems they might be on a journey to something more than Lake Superior, Brent receives a phone call that could change everything.

Will Brent stay with Lowell and ignore a friend in need, or go sit by the bedside of the man who broke Lowell’s heart?

The stakes are high when you play for keeps.

Touch & Go

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Length: 101 817 words/ 410 pages

Release Date: September 27, 2019

Universal Link:

Available on Kindle Unlimited

mybook.to/TouchGo

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Blurb

It was supposed to be a secret fling.

Micah Warner spent his whole life dreaming of pitching in the big leagues. Signing with a minor-league team near Chicago puts him one step closer to making that a reality. But there are no out players in pro ball, so any involvement with a man must be discreet.

Physical therapist Justin Lamb loves his job with the Cougars. A romantic at heart, he wants to find lasting love—with a man or woman—but traveling with the team makes it difficult to maintain a long-term relationship.

Micah offers Justin a no-strings-attached way to blow off some steam, and Justin reluctantly agrees. It doesn’t take long before they’re both in over their heads but falling in love will risk everything.

With their careers and relationship hanging in the balance, they have one last play to make.

It’s time to take a swing for real and lasting love.

Advance & Retreat

Advance & Retreat Cover

Length: 105 980 words/368 pages

Release Date: July 14, 2020

Universal Link:

Available on Kindle Unlimited

mybook.to/AdvanceRetreat

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Blurb

Olympic-size dreams come at a price.

Openly gay college swimmer Ian Harrington feels like he’s fighting against a current of tragedy. He’s grieving the loss of his parents and best friend, and now he’s dealing with a toxic coach and judgmental brother. But he won’t let that stop him from chasing his dream: Olympic gold.

Ricky Chavez has just about everything he wants in life: a great career, a supportive family, and a side gig as drag queen Rosie Riveting. The only thing he’s missing is a partner to share it all with.

When the two men connect after Rosie’s performance, they’re immediately drawn to one another. But it’s never that simple. Ricky isn’t the type of man to hide, and with Ian’s coach breathing down his neck, he can’t openly love a drag queen without making waves.

They’ll have to brave deep waters to make it to the finish line.

About the Author

Brigham Vaughn is on the adventure of a lifetime as a full-time author. She devours books at an alarming rate and hasn’t let her short arms and long torso stop her from doing yoga. She makes a killer key lime pie, hates green peppers, and loves wine tasting tours.

A collector of vintage Nancy Drew books and green glassware, she enjoys poking around in antique shops and refinishing thrift store furniture. An avid photographer, she dreams of traveling the world and she can’t wait to discover everything else life has to offer her.

Her books range from short stories to novellas to novels. They explore gay, bisexual, lesbian, and polyamorous romance in contemporary settings.

Social Media

Blog | Facebook | Facebook Author Page | Fan Group (Brigham’s Book Nerds)

Twitter | Newsletter sign-up | Instagram | Pinterest | BookBub

 

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New Release Blitz: Torn by Rick R. Reed

Torn | Rick R. Reed

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Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: June 29, 2020

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Length: 63,300

Buy Links:

NineStar Press | Amazon

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Blurb

Ever been torn between two lovers? That’s Ricky Comparetto’s problem.

It’s 1995, and Ricky is making his very first trip across the pond with his best friend. Ricky, hungry for love and looking for it in all the wrong places, finds it in the beach city of Brighton. His new love has the curious name of Walt Whitman and is also an American, which only serves to make him sexier and more intriguing. By the time Walt and Ricky part, promises are made for a reunion in Boston.

But the course of true love never runs smoothly. In Chicago Ricky almost immediately falls in love again. Tom Green is a sexy blue-collar beast with the kindest heart Ricky has ever run across.

What’s he to do? With a visit to the East Coast on the horizon and a new love blossoming in Ricky’s home of Chicago, Ricky truly is torn.

Excerpt

Torn
Rick R. Reed © 2020
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One

It was the cheapest flight we could find. Air India, round trip, O’Hare to Heathrow, around seven hundred bucks. We snatched up the fare because my best friend, Boutros BinBin, was homesick and wanted to show me his homeland, “the place that made me who I am.” If you know Boutros, you know this is a scary thought. And yet I still wanted to go.

We snatched up our tickets because we were both sick of Chicago, dreading the humid summer we knew was in store, and because I had done about every guy on the North Side.

Joke. Now Boutros, hush. And stop rolling your eyes!

We’d do London (and EuroPride). We’d do Brighton (Boutros called the seaside town the San Francisco of England because it was so gay—in a good way). We’d do Boutros’s ancient hometown, Bath. Honestly, one of us would do just about any attractive male within the age range of eighteen to, oh, sixty-five—but the latter part was always negotiable. In the dark, a hard dick is a hard dick.

Or maybe I’d find Mr. Right. “You’ll find a hundred Mr. Right Nows if I know you,” Boutros said. Boutros could always see through me like I was made from glass. It was this attribute that I both loved and hated about my best friend—and probably what drew us together when we’d met a couple of years before at a gay writers’ group called the Newtown Writers, in Chicago. I was drawn to his sense of humor, and he was appalled by the Daisy Dukes I wore to the first meeting.

Just a few short years later, we were both summarily thrown out of the writers’ group. Boutros said it was because we were the only two who’d been published, and I argued that it was because we appeared at a meeting at his house wearing nothing but a smile. Gay men! They’re always trying to get you naked, and then, when they succeed, they get offended!

We agreed to lick our wounds over coffee. Compounding the pain of being ousted from the writers’ group, I had recently ended a relationship. Boutros lent a sympathetic ear to my man troubles, which were then all about my indolent, smart, perpetually stoned, and job-challenged boyfriend, Henry, whose life revolved around marijuana—growing it and smoking it morning, noon, and night. I wondered what it was he needed to escape. When I asked Boutros, he told me, “Probably because he can’t stand waking up sober next to that face. And I can’t blame him.” Only Boutros could say such things to me, knowing I would somehow interpret them as demonstrations of love and caring. When we finally broke up after Henry had quit yet another job that was way beneath him, I cut ties.

And yet, I was devastated. Boutros led me through mourning the end of my first gay love with a firm hand, a lot of sarcasm, and a willingness to listen while I rambled on and on into the phone, wondering if I’d done the right thing. After all, Henry could be sweet, although he’d never admit it. On the day Henry moved out (while I was at work—a concept foreign to him), he left the CD player on and Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” playing on infinite loop. Even though I knew Boutros was probably appalled by the sappiness of this gesture, he listened as I choked out words of devastation through sobs, and demonstrated admirable restraint when he could have cut me down to pathetic size with a couple of bon mots. Support like his, coming at a crucial time, often cements two people together.

It did us.

So when Boutros proposed we jet off across the pond together, I was beyond thrilled. Even though I knew I couldn’t afford it on my catalog copywriter salary, which barely paid my rent, going to Europe, especially England, had always been my dream. I’d grown up with a pen pal from the West Midlands and had developed a keen interest in the place from her long letters describing Cannock Chase and the little Staffordshire village in which she lived. Perhaps I could see her, too, while I was there. It would be our first meeting in person.

Boutros convinced me to clean out my bank account for the trip by saying that once we got there, we could stay with friends and family wherever we went. All we’d have to pay for was food (fish and chips!) and drinks (Guinness!). We’d get around via the tube, and for longer distances, we’d take advantage of England’s very user-friendly trains that went just about everywhere.

I desperately needed a break from my boring job and from nursing my broken heart (even if I was the one who technically broke it), so I was on board.

Well, actually, I was on board right that very moment, Boutros next to me. We were on a double-decker plane that was enormous, much bigger than anything I’d ever flown on—not that I’d flown much, just a handful of flights between Chicago and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which had the closest airport to my hometown of East Liverpool, Ohio.

The flight attendants, all women, wore saris. The plane was filled mostly with eastern Indians. Heathrow was a layover for them, not a destination, as this flight continued on to New Delhi.

“Ah, the sweet smell of curry is in the air,” Boutros whispered, leaning close to my ear.

“Hush.” I looked around, praying no one had heard him. I got his sense of humor—which involved saying a lot of things simply for their shock value—but I doubt that anyone else on the plane would.

I already felt as though I’d stepped into another world. I couldn’t wait to get to our destination and see what adventures were in store.

One of the flight attendants came around pushing a trolley. On it were small Styrofoam cups and full-size bottles of whiskey.

“Would you like?” The dark-haired woman smiled at Boutros and me, gesturing toward the bottles and cups.

Indian custom? I shrugged. What the hell? “Yes, please. One for me, and one for my friend here.” I leaned back a little so she could see Boutros in the middle seat. I doubted she could miss him, though, dressed as he was in palazzo pants with a yellow-and-purple paisley pattern, and a white muslin peasant shirt. His black hair stood up in a multitude of directions, and his mustache, waxed, stuck out so far, he could make the truthful claim that one could see the mustache from behind him. The goatee below the mustache was just beginning to gray. His earring and nose ring were connected by a dangling silver chain. He liked to say his face was “done up like a Christmas tree.”

Sometimes I wondered if people even saw me when I stood next to him.

“One?” Boutros scoffed. “Amateur. Could we have two?”

She nodded, smiling, and poured us each two shots of whiskey. She handed them over, and we both quickly downed the first and then handed the cups back to her. Boutros belched and said, “Check back on us, would you?”

The flight attendant’s smile didn’t waver. Serenely, she moved on to the next row to ply the whole plane, I presumed, with strong spirits.

Boutros reached for his leather backpack, which he’d stored under the seat in front of him. “Surprise! I’ve got a little something here that will help shorten the flight, if you know what I mean.” He grinned mischievously as he groped around in the bag’s outer compartment. He brought out a prescription bottle and shook it. A couple of pills rattled.

“Morphine, sweetie, from when I had that cyst out in hospital. Remember? I punched that nun when they started cutting before the anesthetic set in.” He leaned close, rubbing up against my shoulder. “I saved these two just for you and me, darling.”

“You’re too good to me. They say time is the most thoughtful gift, but I beg to differ. I say it’s drugs.” I returned the shoulder nudge, then held out my hand like a beggar.

We popped the morphine, washing it down with our second shot of whiskey. The unvoiced plan, of course, was that we would sleep on the overnight transatlantic flight, arriving in London the next morning refreshed and ready to begin our sightseeing after dropping our stuff off at Boutros’s friend Trevor’s place in Westminster.

Maybe I was too excited to sleep, but even after a third shot of whiskey and morphine, I was still wide-awake for the full eight-hour flight. And perhaps my excitement was contagious, because Boutros couldn’t catch a wink either. We watched our flight’s progress on a screen on the back of the seats in front of us. I thought, Hurry, hurry.

If anything, the drugs and alcohol had the curious effect of making us even more bright-eyed and bushy-tailed than either of us usually were. After trying fitfully—and desperately—to sleep, fluffing the thin and starchy pillows our flight attendant had given us, we passed the night talking about what we’d see and do, following the vivid colors and subtitles of the inflight movie, Raja, which was, from what I could gather from the subtitles, a romance about a young man reuniting with the woman he was supposed to marry years earlier. We ate the meals the airline offered—chicken tikka masala and basmati rice for me and saag paneer and rice for him. Even though it was Indian food, which Boutros and I both adored, it was airline food…and thus barely edible. Fortunately, they brought out the complimentary whiskey cart again near the end of the flight.

And, at around 10:00 a.m. London time, we touched down on the runway at Heathrow International Airport.

About the Author

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Real Men. True Love.

Rick R. Reed is an award-winning and bestselling author of more than fifty works of published fiction. He is a Lambda Literary Award finalist. Entertainment Weekly has described his work as “heartrending and sensitive.”

Lambda Literary has called him: “A writer that doesn’t disappoint…” Find him at http://www.rickrreedreality.blogspot.com.

Rick lives in Palm Springs, CA, with his husband, Bruce, and their fierce Chihuahua/Shiba Inu mix, Kodi.

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