Welcome to our third week of celebrations for the amazing
In today's post, we'll talk about the Restorations series and the All Saints series. We'll also have a personal story the author has chosen to share, plus another chance to win!
First up, Getting It Right (Restorations #1)
Detective Nathan Wolf might just be a junior detective, but he tackles every case with the passion that he lacks in his personal life. A series of failed relationships with women has left him still single at thirty-four—because he's too scared to admit to his longtime crush on his best friend James.
Dr. James Taggert likes to keep his profession as a psychiatrist separate from his party-animal persona. Known around the gay clubs as Tag, he's the guy who screws them, leaves them, and never looks back. But James's drinking is getting heavier, and when bad memories from the past resurface, he's close to becoming the worst version of himself.
After a drunken blackout ends in a hot and heavy make-out session with his very straight best friend, James has no memory of the steamy affair. But Nathan isn't sorry for the kisses that James can't remember. Nathan finally musters the courage to tell James how he really feels, but a life-altering event might force them apart before they can ever be together.
“When Kate Alden called me and said you were in the emergency room, I nearly died on the spot.”
Nate froze next to the TV console, his heart wrenching from the emotion in James’s words. He faced James, unsurprised to see his eyes glittering. James put the empty toast plate down on the coffee table and clasped his hands in his lap. Nate waited.
“When it hit me that I could have spent the rest of my life without you in it, I saw things clearer than I ever have before.”
“Us. I told you in my first email that I hated that the last thing I ever said to you was a lie, and I wanted to make it right. Did you get my emails?”
“I got every single one. I loved getting them.”
James’s lips quirked. “You never responded.”
“No. I didn’t trust my emotions. I didn’t know if what I’d say would be the truth.”
“But you trust them now?”
“For the most part I do trust mine. I’m not sure I trust yours.”
James jerked a little, as though he’d been slapped. “What?”
“The emotional distress of nearly losing a loved one easily fucks with one’s ability to think clearly and make rational choices.” He couldn’t believe he was explaining the psychological nature of trauma to a therapist. But this was also one of the reasons he’d left town. “You didn’t want me before I was assaulted, so I have no reason to believe you’ve truly changed your mind.”
“I haven’t changed my mind, Nate.”
Nate flinched. “Oh.” Embarrassment heated his cheeks.
“I haven’t changed my mind because I’ve always wanted you.”
He stared, not understanding.
James stood up, his perfectly defined abs rippling. “I didn’t change my mind because what I told you on that roof was a lie. When I told you I didn’t want you, I lied because I’ve wanted it for so long that I was scared to believe it.”
“What do you mean?”
“You’re everything to me, Nate. You always have been. You’re my best friend, my conscience. You’re who I’ve always gone to when my mother’s being dramatic, or I need to vent about a patient. I fell in love with you in college, but I put that in a box and buried it deep because you’re straight, and it was never going to happen. I’d accepted it. And then we kissed and you said you had feelings, and it meant everything, but you were still you and my heart was still in that box, and I was terrified that the possibility of us wasn’t actually real.”
James was babbling, and he never babbled.
I fell in love with you in college.
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Second in the series, Finding Their Way
Thanks to an abusive father and a string of bad relationships, Riley McCage learned the hard way that people are not kind without a reason. Now, after landing a job at popular gay bar Pot O Gold, Riley is on the right track--until the night Boxer finds him drunk and drugged in the back room of an exclusive sex party.
Donald "Boxer" Boxwood wasn't looking for anything beyond some casual kink until he peeled Riley off the floor and gave him a safe place to stay. But there's something compelling about the guy crashing on his couch, and the two forge an instant friendship that eases into unmistakable attraction. Despite Riley's hesitancy, Boxer knows one thing to be true: he needs Riley in his life.
Riley risked everything to run away and build a new life for himself, and his secrets aren't something he'd ever wish upon his kind, gentle new friend. But when the past comes to call, he'll have no choice but to put his trust in Boxer…and believe people can change enough to deserve a second chance.
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And third, so far, Taking A Chance
The last time Elliott fell in love, his fiancé cheated on him. Now fresh out of rehab, Elliott's confidence lags behind his libido—not that that stops him from lusting after the sexy carpenter working on his kitchen—from a distance. He won't risk his sobriety on another potential broken heart.
As half of an experienced home renovation duo, Augustus expects this job will be easy. Until he sees the house's tenant, a man he never thought he'd meet—his ex's other man. Augustus knows he should say something about their secret, shared past, but he's tongue-tied by their intense, unwanted attraction.
Despite attempts to keep things professional, the two men give in to temptation and forge a genuine connection—and his developing feelings for Elliott leave Augustus in an impossible situation. If he stays, his secret will always hang over the relationship. But telling the truth might send Elliott spiraling to a new rock bottom and cost Augustus the only man he's ever really loved.
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From All Saints, Come What May
Jonas needs Tate. He just doesn't know it yet.
Or at least, he doesn't want to admit it. Because there is no way Jonas Ashcroft is gay. He's a straight, carefree frat boy player, just like any good son of a conservative state senator. If only his struggle to convince everyone—especially himself—didn't leave him so miserable. No matter how many girls or bottles he drowns himself in, Jonas can neither escape nor accept who he is.
Enter Tate. He's smart, confident, and instantly sees right through Jonas's surly exterior. Sure, he's done things in life he's not proud of, but he knows who he is and what he wants. And what he wants is Jonas. As their easy friendship intensifies into something more, Tate introduces Jonas to a life he's never known. One filled with acceptance and sex and a love that terrifies and excites them both.
But some inner demons refuse to be shaken off so easily. When Jonas's old life barges in, he faces a shattering choice, one that could destroy everything he and Tate have fought so hard for. Sometimes love just isn't enough—and sometimes it's exactly what you need.
“Dinner will be ready soon.” Jonas tried not to stare at Tate’s very bare chest as bits of last night’s jerk-off session tried to replay in his head.
“Oh, right. Duh.” Tate licked his bottom lip, and no, that was not sexy. Nope. “You want to come in for a second? See the place? I need to get a shirt anyway.”
Danger. Abort mission. Retreat.
The instant the storm door fell shut behind him, Jonas’s heart started to gallop. He was no blushing virgin, and he had no expectations of Tate jumping him if they were alone together, but this was Tate. Tate, who had starred in Jonas’s fantasy last night. This was a mistake.
Tate wasn’t a faceless cheerleader at a party that he could fuck and forget about ten minutes later. He was a guy for fuck’s sake. Jonas didn’t do guys. He especially didn’t do Tate. Tate was everything he and his frat buddies made fun of—smaller, thinner, geeky, too nice. Gay.
Tate stood an arm’s reach away, his lean torso on display. Not an extra ounce of fat anywhere on his body, and his thick hair was messy as ever. Those glasses had slipped to the edge of his nose, and Jonas nearly pushed them back up.
He observed the apartment instead, as he worked to keep his temper. Bigger than he’d expected, with an open area that was half kitchen/dining room and half living room. Three open doors that showed off two obvious bedrooms and a bathroom. Not a lot of storage, and the décor was yard sale chic but it felt comfortable. Like a family lived there.
“It’s small,” Jonas said.
“Better than a cardboard box or foster care.” The sharpness in Tate’s voice echoed in his frown.
Jonas had never known anyone before who’d been in foster care, and saying so would probably make him the biggest douche on the planet. It also took the edge off some of his irritation over the total mindfuck that was Tate Dawson. “It’s way better than both of those things. You worked hard for this place, Tate. I haven’t worked hard for anything in my life.”
He blinked. “You do?”
“Yes, I do. I think you work very, very hard to convince yourself and the world that you’re something you’re not. I think you work very, very hard to be perfect when no one is, and the only thing anyone should ever do is just be her or himself. Be true to you, not to what others want from you.”
Jonas’s throat squeezed tight. “I can’t.”
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And secondly, so far, Say It Right
After his parents kicked him out for being gay, Marc Villegas lived on the streets before getting a second chance. Now he's giving back by working at a shelter for LGBT teenagers—because helping fight their demons keeps his own at bay. Including his infatuation with the former best friend he's sure is straight.
Anthony Romano hasn't seen Marc since Marc left home eight years ago. In his confidant's absence, Anthony turned to heroin. Now at rock bottom, he has an offer from Marc to help him get clean. Detox is hard and ugly, but not as hard as admitting the truth: he's in love with Marc. Always has been.
Marc swore he'd never date an addict, but he never dreamed the one in question would be the man he's always wanted to be with. As the two explore their feelings for each other, Marc faces a difficult choice. Say yes, and it could cost him his sobriety; say no, and it could cost him his heart.
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A personal story:
I’ve worked in retail/customer service jobs for the last twenty years, from high school summer jobs to a full-time gig in a home décor store. I’ve seen it all and heard it all, and it takes a special kind of customer to really shock me anymore. But sometimes something happens that is so outrageous all you can do is laugh about it and tell every single one of your coworkers so they can laugh, too.
This past summer, a customer comes into the store looking for a gift. We sell all manner of gifty items, so she browses and ends up selecting a glass sculpture that was maybe the size of a can of Pringles. And light, but also glass. She asks for a box. We don’t have boxes for our items. When shipments come in, we unbox and unwrap items, then place them directly onto the store shelves. Because of 1) lack of stockroom storage, and 2) the vast array of sizes and shapes of the things we sell, there’s no way to keep boxes for them. Never have. It’s not a company requirement.
We tell the customer we don’t have a box, but we can wrap it in tissue paper so it doesn’t break. She huffs, then pays for the item. It’s wrapped in tissue, bagged, and the lady walks out. Maybe a minute later, she walks right back in the store with the bag in her hand and demands we do a better job of wrapping the sculpture. Okay, cool. We keep a small stash of bubble wrap in the back office for customers who can’t manage not to break things, so we get a piece of that and bring it out. The customer looks at the sheet of bubble wrap and says, “Is that USED?”
Like, she’s genuinely offended that it’s used bubble wrap. Capital O Offended. We’re a bit flummoxed at this point. She demands to know why we don’t buy a roll of brand-new bubble wrap from Staples for customers. Um, because we get bubble wrap in every single week on our shipments, and instead of throwing it all away, we rescue some for customer use? Why waste our supply budget on something we get for free, you know? Duh.
She gripes and groans, but finally accepts the bubble wrap. The Used Bubble Wrap. *plays horror music* And guess who got a phone call from this customer less than an hour later? The store manager. Guess who cracked up about the stupidity of the whole thing along with the rest of us? The store manager.
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About the author:
No stranger to the writing world, A.M. Arthur has been creating stories in her head since she was a child and scribbling them down nearly as long. She credits an early fascination with male friendships and "bromance" (and "The Young Riders") with her later discovery of and subsequent affair with m/m romance stories. When not writing, she can be found in her kitchen, pretending she's an amateur chef and trying to not poison herself or others with her cuisine experiments. You can contact her at AM_Arthur(at)yahoo(dot)com.
Thanks for celebrating with us. Come back next week for even more of A.M. Arthur's books, our Q&A, plus one more chance to win.
Until then, happy reading!!