Thursday, January 10, 2019

Author Of The Month - Bru Baker - Week Two

Welcome to our second week of celebrations for the amazing

In today's post, we will look at Tall, Dark, And Deported and King Of The Kitchen, plus five little-known facts about Bru. All the way at the bottom is also another chance to win one of her books!

First up, Tall, Dark, And Deported


Crossing the border into love.

Snap decisions and misguided ideas bring Portuguese national Mateus Fontes and businessman Crawford Hargrave together at the Canadian border crossing.

Mateus is caught in a catch-22. With his almost-expired tourist visa, entrance to Canada is denied, but the US won’t let him back in either. Crawford thinks he’s solved things when he tells the border agent they’re engaged, and it works—except now they have to actually get married before either of them can get back into the United States. But Crawford has been burned by marriage once, and he’s determined not to make that mistake again.

Neither of them expects real feelings to bloom out of their fake marriage, but they do. And the two of them have to learn how to be honest with each other to make things work, which is especially hard when their entire marriage is based on lies.


“Are you all right? I know I overstepped, and I’m sorry. If you don’t—we can call my brother. He really is a lawyer. He doesn’t specialize in immigration law, but I’m sure he’d know who we could call. He could help us find a lawyer for you, and we could go back to the border if you want. Maybe have someone meet us there so you have representation before you get taken to the detention center. I just didn’t like the thought of them hauling you away like that with no one there to help you.”
Mateus’s lashes fluttered against his cheek, and he blew out a breath. “That would probably be best. Marriage.” He laughed humorlessly and opened his eyes. “I can’t allow you to make a sacrifice like that. You don’t even know me. I should have said something at the border, but I was too scared to think straight.”
It was a relief to hear Mateus’s voice again, even if what he was saying was ridiculous. “I have absolutely no objection to marrying you,” he said. He held up a hand when Mateus started to protest. “I know that sounds totally stalkerish and crazy, but hear me out. Marrying you to help you get a green card would be less of a farce than my first marriage was, trust me. I’m not the marriage type, it turns out. So why not sign a piece of paper that says I am if it means helping you?”
“You can’t mean that,” Mateus said, his expression incredulous. “Marriage isn’t just a piece of paper. It’s a partnership, and it’s beautiful. I’m sorry if your experience with it wasn’t, but one bad marriage doesn’t mean you aren’t the marrying type. You’ll find someone who changes your mind, and then where are we?”
Crawford was so tired of people trying to sell him platitudes about love and marriage. It was all crap. Marriage was a business transaction, a bit of paperwork that tied two lives together for taxes and other practical reasons. Starting off a marriage with Mateus, knowing it was all a sham, would probably make theirs the most honest marriage on record. Everyone went into marriage with their own secret agendas, and this way those agendas were out in the open. It didn’t count as being used if you knew you were being used going in.
“I won’t change my mind. You don’t need to worry about that. And you won’t need me forever anyway. Just until you can get permanent alien status or whatever it is you need to do, right?”
Mateus made a frustrated sound. “I can’t ask that of you. It’s so much. It can take years for all that paperwork to go through. My brother has been married for three, and he’s still not a naturalized citizen.”
Crawford shrugged. “So?” He shook his head when Mateus sighed. “No, listen. I don’t—I’m not being a drama queen when I say marriage is off the table for me, okay? It’s not like we’d actually be tied together. Just legally. We won’t live in the same place. We probably wouldn’t even have to see each other again if we didn’t want to once we’re officially in the States as a married couple. I’ll be in LA, and you’ll be in the boonies in Washington doing what you do. And if you meet someone and want to get married for real—well, we’ll get a quick divorce. I’m not asking you for anything here, Mateus. I promise.”
It was a serious moment, but Crawford had to fight not to snicker. Here he was, asking someone to marry him again and making promises. Putting himself smack dab in a position he’d sworn to himself three years ago he’d never be in again. It felt right, though. Spontaneous and stupid, but right. There was just something about Mateus that was—he didn’t even have words for it. Good. Innocent. Carefree. Things Crawford wished he was but knew he couldn’t be. And he didn’t want Mateus’s spirit to be crushed by getting arrested and deported. The man was just trying to help his family, for Christ’s sake. He was a botanist. Not some horrible threat to the country. What would deporting him accomplish?

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Secondly today, King Of The Kitchen


Rising kitchen talents Beck Douglas and Duncan Walters have been on the foodie paparazzi radar for years, since their status as heirs to two of the biggest celebrity chef empires around makes them culinary royalty. Beck is known for his charm and traditional food as cohost of his uncle's popular TV cooking show, while Duncan earned himself a reputation as a culinary bad boy, both for his refusal to work in his father's restaurants and his avant-garde approach to cooking.

They're also heirs to a food rivalry that could put the Hatfields and McCoys to shame, and when they're photographed in the middle of a heated argument, the press goes wild with speculation. Damage control ensues, with a fake friendship engineered by PR cronies that leaves both of them secretly pining for more.

Beck chafes under his uncle's micromanagement, and Duncan's relationship with his homophobic father becomes even more tenuous when Beck and Duncan start getting closer. It's hard to hide their chemistry on national television when Duncan joins Beck's cooking show, but they won't be able to take their relationship—or their careers—to the next level without breaking a few eggs.


“I’m not looking for a fight. I get it. You’re stressed and amped up on adrenaline because of the opening, and I was a jerk. Just let it go,” Duncan said quietly, bringing his hands up to rest lightly on Beck’s chest.
He wasn’t going to try to push him away, but he wanted Beck to know his proximity wasn’t welcome. The last thing Duncan wanted was a physical fight. He hated fighting, and beyond that, he knew Beck would wipe the floor with him. Through the thin suit coat Beck was wearing, Duncan could feel his bulging biceps and rock-hard chest. Most of the other professional chefs Duncan knew, himself included, were fairly fit; they had to be, to stay on their feet all day, darting around a sweltering kitchen. But Beck’s body took fit to a whole new level, and Duncan absently found himself wondering where Beck found the time to work out, given his busy production and restaurant schedule.
“If you keep walking into people’s establishments and insulting them, you might find one even if you’re not looking,” Beck muttered.
“I didn’t throw anything at you that you weren’t throwing at me,” Duncan said, unwilling to take the fall for the fight. Beck gave as good as he got; it wasn’t Duncan’s fault he couldn’t take a verbal punch as well as Duncan could.
Beck hesitated, then stepped back, releasing Duncan’s arm. Duncan resisted the urge to brush his hand over the wrinkled fabric, not wanting to call more attention to the fact that Beck had been gripping him tightly, not just laying a friendly hand on him.
“I heard you tell the reporter from Epicurean Adventures that the food was bland,” Beck said, his jaw clenched. “The culinary world respects you and your opinions, whether their adoration of you is valid or not—and I definitely think it isn’t—what you say matters.”
Beck closed his eyes briefly and took a deep breath. Duncan could tell it was costing him a lot to be so frank, and Duncan appreciated it. And yes, he had told George the food was bland—because it was. But he hadn’t done it in an attempt to hurt Beck’s restaurant.
“He’s an old friend,” Duncan said, his lips curving up into a small, apologetic smile. “The reporter from Epicurean Adventures. I helped him get that job, actually. He knows nothing I say to him is ever on the record, not unless he specifically calls me for a comment about something. And even then, I usually refer him on up the food chain and have him talk to Vincent, because it’s his opinion that matters, not mine. I’m only an ignorant line cook, remember?”
Duncan saw the fight go out of Beck’s posture, and without anger lighting his features, Beck looked tired. “You are a lot more than a line cook, Duncan.”
Duncan shrugged easily. “I don’t get too hung up on terminology. Line cook, sous-chef, whatever. At the end of the day, we’re all little more than kitchen minions, doing the bidding of the executive chef.”
He playfully bumped Beck’s shoulder with his own, drawing a reluctant smile out of him.
Sadie startled both of them when she stepped close, putting an arm around each of their waists.
“Beck, you really need to get back to mingling. Duncan, I’m putting you over at the bar where JT can watch you. I don’t need you starting a brawl like you did at Tyler’s wedding.”
“That was you?” Beck asked, giving Duncan a very obvious once-over.
“Hey, I might not look like much, but I fight dirty. I’m wiry, but I’m strong,” Duncan said with a grin. It was a total lie, of course. The other guy had tripped, and Duncan had been there to break his fall. The crowd had taken the sprawl of limbs for a fight, and Duncan hadn’t cared enough to correct them. But he hadn’t realized Beck had been at the wedding. Curious.
“Strong enough to take down Gary? That man is built like a mountain.”
“Gary was also drunk off his ass at the time, so I wouldn’t read too much into it,” Sadie said smartly, leading both of them away from the bulk of the crowd and back toward the kitchen.
“Don’t ruin my street cred, Sadie,” Duncan pouted, obediently taking a seat on the barstool she’d guided him to. “You street-cred ruiner, you.”
Sadie laughed. “Duncan, trust me. I’m pretty sure you’re your own worst enemy when it comes to ruining street cred.”
“You need a drink, boss.” JT had followed them back through the crowd, and he gave them all a sunny smile before he twirled a ridiculously expensive bottle of Glenlivet in the air and tipped it into a shot glass behind the bar. Beck growled at him wordlessly but took the shot, downing it in one go and almost managing to hide his grimace.
“Back into the lion’s den,” Beck muttered as he nodded at the three of them and then weaved his way back into the crowd, his apparent reluctance catching Duncan by surprise yet again.
He’d have figured Beck Douglas thrived on mingling and charming guests. Beck smiled and chatted his way around the packed room easily, stopping to pose for photos and speak with reporters and well-wishers alike, always with a smile that held none of the exhaustion Duncan had seen in his face earlier.
Beck Douglas was an enigma wrapped inside a mystery, and he was becoming more and more interesting to Duncan with every layer he unearthed.

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Five little-known facts about Bru

  1. When I was in elementary school I competed in horseback riding competitions. I rode Western saddle for years.
  2. I come from a show business family. My uncle was on Broadway, one of my cousins is an actor, my father was known as “the Elvis of Manilla,” and another uncle has performed with a band for more than 30 years.
  3. I met my husband on our first day at Indiana University. We lived in the same residence hall and after our building meeting with our RA I invited him back to my room for a Capri Sun. That was 21 years ago.
  4. I broke my ankle training for a half marathon and took that as a sign I was not meant to be a distance runner.
  5. I love to cook but hate eating leftovers, so I usually incorporate them into a new dish instead of just reheating them. (Though with a 12-year-old boy in the house we don’t have many leftovers anymore!)

More about Bru Baker:

Bru Baker writes sophisticated gay romantic fiction with strong characters, real-world problems, and plenty of humor.

Bru spent fifteen years writing for newspapers before making the jump to fiction. She now balances her time between writing and working at a Midwestern library in the reference department. Whether it’s creating her own characters or getting caught up in someone else’s, there’s no denying that Bru is happiest when she’s engrossed in a story. She and her husband have two children, which means a lot of her books get written from the sidelines of various sports practices.

Visit Bru online on her website, or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.


Thanks for stopping by to celebrate this fabulous author with us. Come back next week for more of Bru's books, a personal story she's chosen to share, and another chance to win!

Until then, happy reading!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. These sound good. I enjoyed the Camp HOWL books.

  3. Looks great. Thank you for the excerpt and for sharing those 5 facts =)


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