Welcome to our second week of celebrations for the amazing
Today we'll look at On Solid Ground and New Heights, plus five little-known facts about Quinn. There's also a chance to win one of her books.
First up, On Solid Ground
Chance Crawford and Kit Gibbons are on the cusp of an epic office romance. After months of saying hi in the elevator and making small talk at parties, they’re both dying to make a move. Too bad neither of them can work up the courage. Nerdy, risk-averse Chance is waiting for Kit to give him a sign, whereas Kit’s too afraid of being out in his professional life to date the cutie from IT. If only one of them could find the proper motivation, their shaky flirtation could become something real.
Then an earthquake rocks their city. They band together to help others escape, until an aftershock leaves them trapped in a collapsing office building with little hope of survival. The very earthquake that brought them together could also tear them apart.
Drunk on fear and adrenaline, passions run high, but how can they think about romance when any minute could be their last? They’ll have to face danger, themselves, and each other before they can get back on solid ground.
2:17 p.m., Monday, August 13th
After the world ended, everything was dark.
Chance pulled his shirt up over his mouth and tried to breathe normally, but there was too much dust in the air. It filled his dry throat like cotton, making him cough until he was raw. He stumbled over the rubble covering the office floor and fell against one of the few walls that was still standing. It shuddered beneath his weight, and fear lanced through him. It was all he could do to keep himself upright; his limbs were jellied, and his head swam. Panic ate at his stomach lining. Any minute now, he was going to be sick.
“Kit!” His raspy voice grated the air. It echoed eerily down the empty hall. An emergency floodlight flickered up ahead. He headed for it. “Kit, where are you?”
Silence greeted him with a cold handshake.
He took a few more ungainly steps. He was trembling, despite the cloying heat. Shock? Maybe. Or perhaps the earthquake had wormed its way into his bones. As the quiet dragged on, bile rose up in the back of his throat. If something had happened to Kit . . . If he was dead, or hurt . . .
The bile wet his throat enough for him to yell again. “Kit! Can you hear me?”
He looked around but saw no trace of him. Broken glass littered the floor, glinting in the dim light. Bits of wood stuck out from gaping holes in the walls and snagged at his clothes like fingers. A long, jagged crack ran through the tile beneath his feet, revealing peeks at the cement foundation, which chilled his blood.
Suddenly, there was a sound at the end of the hall. Shuffling, and then something like splintering wood.
Oh God, is the roof caving in?
Chance looked up and let out a sob. Ceiling tiles were hanging off dented frames. Parts of it were so caved in they gave glimpses of cracked concrete and the fucking sky, clear through the roof. Chance was no architect, but that couldn’t be a good sign.
Before panic could consume him, he heard more shuffling. He blinked sweat and dirt from his eyes and looked toward it.
“Chance!” A man appeared at the end of the hall. He caught sight of Chance and picked his way over fallen beams. “I’m here!”
“Oh, thank God. Kit.” Chance hurried toward him. His shoe caught on a stray scrap of metal, but he kicked it aside. “When you stopped answering me, I panicked. I tried to find you. I—”
“Don’t move! I’ll come to you.” Kit reached him and grabbed both of his shoulders. “It’s all right now. I’m here.”
Chance held on to Kit in turn, eyes darting over his face as he searched for signs of injury. His hair was dark with sweat and sticking up. There was no trace left of the careful grooming it’d sported mere hours ago. Grime streaked Kit’s jaw. A trail of blood trickled past one of his brown eyes.
But he was alive. He was okay. And right now, he was the most beautiful thing Chance had ever seen.
“Did you find the exit?” Hope flickered in his chest. “Was there a way out?”
Kit stared at him for a long moment before his eyes dropped like weights. “It’s no good. Everything’s blocked off. We could try to clear a path, but I can’t tell what’s debris and what’s a support beam. If we move the wrong thing . . .”
Chance bit back a sob. “The roof might collapse.”
“Yeah.” Kit touched Chance’s cheek. “In fact, it probably will.”
Chance’s heart sank to the ground along with Kit’s gaze. The quiet hanging around them seemed thick and final. Chance could hear his own pulse in his ears as it slowed. After a long, heavy silence, he finally said the thing they both knew, the thing that needed saying even though it was unbearable.
“That was our last chance. There’s no other way out.”
His words rang like bells in the air, heralding ill fortune.
“I know.” Kit let out a breath that turned into a sniffle and held Chance’s face in his hands. “Chance, I’m so sorry. We’re trapped in here.”
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Second in today's line-up, New Heights
After attending a friend’s wedding in New York, James Thompson is eager to go home, even though no one will be waiting for him at the gate. He has no expectations for his trip back to Charleston other than long lines, security, and bad airplane food. But when an annoying—albeit hot—stranger cuts him in line, James is determined not to be a pushover for once.
For Mika “It’s Mee-kuh, not Micah” Bailey, today’s just another day of boring work travel. That is, until his flight gets delayed, and some irritating (but handsome) guy keeps hogging all the good power outlets. Which means war. In the middle of an airport. In New York. What could go wrong?
Eventually, they declare a truce, and as they get to know each other, their attraction overwhelms them both. Terrified of what he’s feeling, Mika suggests a no-strings hookup, but serial-monogamist James wants more. If they don’t fight for what’s right in front of them, their romance might be canceled before it ever takes off.
“I can’t imagine being away from home for so long. With you traveling all the time, it must be hard to—” Abruptly, James pressed his lips together. Then he grabbed his wine and drained the rest of it in two swallows.
Mika looked at him askance. “What?”
He leaned forward until he was in James’s line of sight. “I’m not going to stop pestering you until you tell me.”
Sighing, James glanced at him. “I was going to say that must make it hard for you to spend time with your family, or hang out with your friends . . . or date. Unless you’re already seeing someone, or whatever.”
There was a chance Mika was imagining it, but that last part sounded a little too casual. The idea made his heart pound hard against his ribs.
“Actually, no. I’m not seeing anyone at the moment. In fact, I’ve never had a serious boyfriend.”
At the word boyfriend, James’s eyes snapped to Mika’s face and widened. Mika braced himself, praying he wasn’t about to find out James was a homophobe or a Bible-thumper or something.
To his relief, James merely raised an eyebrow. “Never? Not even in college?”
“Nah. My longest relationship was three months, I think. And it was more a friendship that included some ill-advised sex. It didn’t end well.”
James whistled. “Damn. I’m the opposite. All my relationships are long-term, sometimes to my detriment.”
“Are you seeing anyone right now?” Mika held his breath.
“No.” He winced. “I got dumped a few months ago. We were together for nine months.”
“Sorry to hear that.” Mika was not the tiniest bit sorry. “Were you caught by surprise?”
James shook his head. “I should have ended it way before then, but like I said, I’m a serial monogamist. Thank God he finally broke things off, or who knows how long I would have stayed. And for what? The joys of not being single? Ugh.”
Mika knew he should be paying attention to the poignant and character-revealing information James was telling him, but his brain was stuck on James’s pronoun choice. He.
James had dated a man. He was interested in men. The knowledge smacked Mika across the face.
What are the chances I’d end up talking to the one guy at the airport who’s gorgeous, lives in my city, and is interested in men? I was joking before when I suggested this was meant to be, but . . . maybe it was.
Mika wasn’t the sort to believe in fate or whatever, but this was a hell of a coincidence.
He wet his lips. “We don’t have to talk about your ex-boyfriend if you don’t want to.”
“No, it’s okay.” James fastened on his trademark brilliant smile. “You’re actually the first person I’ve felt comfortable talking about this with. Which is weird, because I was prepared to hate you for all eternity earlier today.”
James looked like he was fighting back a laugh. “Nah. I don’t hate you.”
“I don’t hate you too.”
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Five little-known facts about Quinn Anderson
- I’m 6’2”, which is unusual for a cis lady. I love being tall. I can get things down from shelves, and I know if it’s going to rain sooner. Sure, sometimes I stand and my ears pop, but it’s totally worth it.
- I got my master’s degree from the University of Dublin in Ireland, but I actually also got into the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. I had a RAGING debate about which school I should go to that everyone who knew me was in on. Ultimately, I picked Dublin because the people are friendlier, and the euro was less expensive than the pound at the time.
- I’m allergic to cinnamon. Seriously. As a result, I get ill if I taste anything related to cinnamon, including pumpkin pie, Cinnabon, and even applesauce. I have to ask how a restaurant makes their sangria before I can risk drinking it because some use cinnamon and some don’t. And don’t even get me started on Fireball whiskey.
- I don’t know how to ride a bike. I wasn’t interested in learning as a kid, and my parents didn’t force the issue.
- For a brief period of time, I was a street magician who belonged to a magic guild called the House of Flying Cards. I’m not kidding.
More about Quinn Anderson:
Quinn Anderson is an alumna of the University of Dublin in Ireland and has a master’s degree in psychology. She wrote her dissertation on sexuality in popular literature and continues to explore evolving themes in erotica in her professional life.
A nerd extraordinaire, she was raised on an unhealthy diet of video games, anime, pop culture, and comics from infancy. Her girlfriend swears her sense of humor is just one big Buffy reference. She stays true to her nerd roots in writing and in life, and frequently draws inspiration from her many fandoms, which include Yuri on Ice, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Buffy, and more. Growing up, while most of her friends were fighting evil by moonlight, Anderson was kamehameha-ing her way through all the shounen anime she could get her hands on. You will often find her interacting with fellow fans online and offline via conventions and Tumblr, and she is happy to talk about anything from nerd life to writing tips. She has attended conventions on three separate continents and now considers herself a career geek. She advises anyone who attends pop culture events in the UK to watch out for Weeping Angels, as they are everywhere. If you’re at an event, and you see a 6’2” redhead wandering around with a vague look on her face, that’s probably her.
Thanks for celebrating this fantastic author with us. Come back next week for more of Quinn's books and a personal story she's chosen to share. There's also going to be another chance to win.
Until then, happy reading!