This month we're celebrating the super awesome
In our first post, we'll talk about Wood, Screws & Nails, and Hook, Line & Sinker, and one of Piper's free stories, The Truth About Forever, plus we'll take a look at Piper's favorite things. All the way down at the end, there'll be a chance to win one of Piper's books, too.
First up, Wood, Screws & Nails (Hard Hats #1):
Aaron Costa’s summer was all planned. Despite having to remodel the family lake house, it would be a vacation of sorts, and he had every intention of enjoying it—until the friend who was supposed to help him got injured and left him in a lurch. He decides to take the opportunity to bond with his son and hires Julian and his roommate, Malachi, to assist.
As a broke college student, Malachi could use the money, and spending the summer with Aaron for eye candy sounds like a dream. "Look but don’t touch" becomes his motto. But when Julian starts flaking on his responsibilities and Malachi and Aaron are forced to spend long hours alone together, their mutual attraction is impossible to resist.
Aaron can’t fight the temptation sexy Malachi presents. But more than their age difference stands in their way, not the least of which is Aaron’s semi-closeted status and the fact that he’s never openly discussed his sexuality with his son. He has no idea how Julian will react when he learns his father is not only gay, he’s also dating his best friend.
What the hell is my problem? Malachi knew his rank in the social stratosphere, and typically, he didn’t give a shit that other people had more money or purchased vacation homes more expensive than the only house his parents owned or that going into teaching would mean he’d likely be stuck in the lower-middle class for the rest of his life. It didn’t bother him. He could go to med school if he wanted to earn a lot of money he might never have time to spend. So maybe his sudden anxiety had more to do with the bare-chested man who’d just come down the porch steps and now strode toward them. The man who looked an awful lot like Julian, dark-eyed and olive skinned, except with broader shoulders, a light smattering of chest hair, and a muscular physique sculpted by hard work, not hours lifting weights in a gym. Sweat gleamed on naked skin, and his well-worn jeans clung to him in a way that left Malachi with no doubt that the man packed a cock hefty enough to complement all that muscle.
“Hey,” Mr. Costa said as he reached them. He pulled Julian into a brief hug, which Julian instantly cringed away from.
“Dude! You’re sweaty as hell!”
Mr. Costa laughed and released him. “Sorry. I have the windows open because I’ve been in and out. It’s roasting in there. I just took a break to have a glass of tea with Greg a few minutes ago.” He turned to Malachi and held out a hand. “Thanks for coming. I hope the drive wasn’t too bad.”
Malachi tried to swallow around the lump of cotton that had somehow lodged itself in his throat. He accepted the handshake and fought hard not to think about how little he’d mind being covered in this man’s sweat.
“It wasn’t bad at all.” The words came out huskier than normal. Malachi could only be grateful Julian’s father didn’t know him well enough to notice, and if Julian had, he didn’t comment. “I appreciate the opportunity, Mr. Costa.”“God, please call me Aaron. Mr. Costa is my father.” Aaron grinned, his teeth shining white against scruff-shadowed cheeks. There was a tiny gap between his upper central incisors that Malachi found himself desperate to lick. Weird, he knew, but holy fuck, the guy was even hotter than Malachi remembered from that long-ago visit on a parent weekend in his and Julian’s freshman year and his occasional glimpses in the time since. Apparently, Aaron’s late thirties more than agreed with him. The expression “aged like a fine wine” came to mind. Tip-top of the shelf. The ten-thousand dollar bottles only people like Bill Gates would be drinking.
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Secondly, we have Hook, Line & Sinker (Hard Hats #2):
When they were teens, Castor McCormick was the bane of Blake Kowalski’s existence. Their mutual animosity led to summers filled with rivalry. Now, nearly two decades later, Cas is moving back into the neighborhood to live in his grandmother’s old house. Blake tells himself he isn’t interested in seeing how snarky little Cas grew up, but when his mother dupes him into visiting his former nemesis, he finds out "pretty" can evolve into "sexy as hell" on the right man.
Cas didn’t think he wanted to see Blake again. No one has ever pushed his buttons like the arrogant boy he remembers from their youth. Turns out, the adult version of Blake still gets him hot under the collar—and everywhere else. With Blake on leave from work to nurse an injured leg and Cas taking time to move and unpack, they form a tentative friendship that turns into a sexual affair neither man can deny. But when Cas’s job sends him out of state to deal with a difficult client, their new relationship will be tested, and if they fail, Blake’s broken leg might not be the only thing to end up scarred.
Traffic being light, they made it back to Villa Park in only forty minutes. Cas glanced at the center console and realized it was still fairly early, just a little after six. He wasn’t quite ready to cut their evening short after only having seen Blake once during the week. The new company he was consulting for was local, but that was a relative term. Really, “local” encompassed the entire greater Chicagoland area. His commutes had averaged anywhere from an hour and a half to two hours each way so far. He wasn’t looking forward to dealing with those sorts of travel times for another month or two, but it beat having to trek from his old place to Midway or O’Hare and back twice a week, not to mention the security lines, car rentals, and uncomfortable airplane seats. All things considered, he was more grateful than not for the job change. He looked forward to fully settling into a place that felt like home, not just another temporary stop.
“How about we rent a movie?” he suggested as they neared the grocery store. “We could pick up a pizza, some beer. Hang out for a bit.” He threw a quick glance at Blake. “Unless you’re ready to call it a day?”
Blake snorted. “That question makes me feel old. I’m not quite ready for a seven o’clock bedtime just yet.”
Cas laughed. “Are you sure? We can stop for denture cream if you need. I’ll come over and tuck you in with a warm cup of milk.”
Out of the corner of his eye, he caught Blake’s glare. “Shut it,” Blake growled, but there was laughter in his voice. “Denture cream, my ass. I’ve got plenty of teeth to bite you with. I’m about three decades away from the Viagra years. I can still ream your hole six ways from Sunday.”
“Promises, promises.” Cas shot Blake his best shit-eating grin. Keeping one hand on the steering wheel, he reached over and rubbed at the bulge beneath Blake’s fly. “Hmm. I think maybe you’re right, though. There might just be life in the old boy yet.”
Blake slapped his hand away. “Fuck you. Don’t start anything you don’t intend to finish, kid.”
Cas simply smiled. Despite Blake’s tone and the revival of that sneered “kid” he’d used on Cas when they were teens, he knew there wasn’t any anger behind the words. Cas was only a year younger than Blake, a fact of which they were both well aware. Besides, what was that thing people said? Forty was the new thirty? Cas certainly didn’t feel old, despite how, in the minds of certain members of the gay community, being on his side of thirty made him ancient. He’d wager he could give quite a few of them a run for their money. Literally. And he sure as hell did intend on starting something with Blake that evening—but if Cas had his way, they’d both be finishing before the night was through.
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And the free story, The Truth About Forever:
When they were teenagers Jonny and Marco promised each other forever. Marco had the word etched in his skin to seal their vow. He thought they’d always be together. Three weeks later Jonny dumped him.
Now, after six years, Marco’s finished college and worked his way up to head chef at his family’s popular Mexican restaurant in downtown Chicago. He’s found his calling, and he finally has his life where he wants it. Then Jonny reappears, throwing Marco’s emotions into chaos.
Jonny demands a chance to explain. Marco doesn’t want to hear excuses, not from the man who left him without a backward glance. Yet Jonny claims to still love him, and he won’t be denied. Marco wants to believe him, but will the truth be enough to mend the damage Jonny did when he broke Marco’s heart and walked away?
This story was written as a part of the M/M Romance Group's "Love is an Open Road" event. Group members were asked to write a story prompt inspired by a photo of their choice. Authors of the group selected a photo and prompt that spoke to them and wrote a short story. You can read this story here.
Piper's favorite things:
First, I’d like to thank everyone at My Fiction Nook for asking me to be one of their Authors of the Month. I’m thrilled to be here!
I have a lot of favorites – and the list is always growing because I usually go all-in when I fall in love with something – but here are some of the things I love most. :)
I’m a huge pasta lover. I could, and would, eat it every day if the high carb count didn’t mess with my blood sugar so much. My favorite pasta dish is shrimp alfredo, and second to that, mushroom ravioli.
Alcoholic – strawberry banana coconut daiquiri. I make these at home on special occasions. So good! I can share the recipe if anyone is interested.
Non-alcoholic – tea (hot or cold), coffee, and sparkling water.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – I’ve loved this book since I was in high school and have watched pretty much every film/TV adaptation. I even read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies because the combo of my favorite book and zombies, which I also love, was too good to resist. I can’t wait for the movie!
Snickers or Lemonheads. (I don’t eat them too often, though. I’m a diabetic.)
Hockey! I regularly follow about 5 or 6 teams, but my favorite is the Chicago Blackhawks.
Place to Vacation:
I’ve been overseas twice so far, and my favorite places were England, France, and Italy. I’m desperate to go back to Rome, and I’d absolutely love to do an Ireland/Scotland trip someday.
Place to blow $100:
Given the sheer variety of what they have available, probably Amazon. Second to them, a stationery store like Paperchase. I love pens and notebooks and I went a little crazy in the Paperchase store in St. Pancras Station last time I was in London.
Place to go:
Bookstores. Used, new, whatever. :)
Scarves! I have a collection of scarves, in different designs and colors. Traditional types, infinity scarves. I’m just a fan and regularly buy them, and people who know about my scarf love gift me with them sometimes.
Sadly, it burned down a month or two ago, but my favorite restaurant was a Mexican place called Nuevo Leon in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago. Luckily, no one was injured, but I’m really hoping they rebuild it ASAP! I’ve been going there since I was a kid, and the same goes for my parents.
Mostly I listen to alternative and indie bands, but my tastes are pretty eclectic. Some of my favorite bands/musicians are: Muse, Ed Sheeran, Arcade Fire, alt-J, Amy Winehouse, Bastille, The Black Keys, Florence + The Machine, Fiona Apple, Hozier, Lana Del Rey, Mumford & Sons, One Direction, Radiohead, twenty one pilots, Sam Smith, The xx, NIN, Coldplay, Jay-Z, Beyonce, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Phantogram.
More about Piper:
Piper Vaughn wrote her first love story at eleven and never looked back. Since then, she’s known that writing in some form was exactly what she wanted to do. A reader at the core, Piper loves nothing more than getting lost in a great book—fantasy, young adult, romance, she loves them all (and has a two-thousand-book library to prove it!). She grew up in Chicago, in an ethnically diverse neighborhood, and loves to put faces and characters of every ethnicity in her stories, so her fictional worlds are as colorful as the real one. Above all, she believes that everyone needs a little true love in their life…even if it’s only in a book.