Please say hello to Jeff Adams with
Somewhere On Mackinac
States Of Love
For my entry in Dreamspinner Press’s States of Love series, Somewhere on Mackinac, I focused on my home state of Michigan. I quickly settled on Mackinac Island, a dot of land that sits between the upper and lower peninsulas and is unlike anywhere else in the state.
The first thing most people notice about Mackinac is that there are no cars allowed—people get around on foot, bicycle, horseback or carriage. It’s also a Victorian village, and the island dwellers go to great lengths to make sure nothing takes away from its old-time appeal. I used a lot of the island’s natural appeal, along with the charm of it’s architecture, in the story to draw the characters together.
At the heart of the story is Jordan Monroe, a recently single businessman from Chicago. He loves the movie Somewhere in Time, which was filmed on Mackinac, and he’s finally taking a trip to the island to attend a fan celebration weekend. Shortly after arriving, he meets Island native Miles Colter, who owns a stable and provides transportation around the island.
As Miles’s interest in Jordan grows, he takes Jordan to some of the Island’s best spots and shares with him what it was like growing up in a place that has a year-round population of about 500. One of my favorite scenes is where Miles takes Jordan to watch the sunset. They go to a place on the shore of Lake Huron for the view of the sun dipping behind the Mackinac Bridge, which is a five mile span that connects the peninsulas.
Not only does this bit of sightseeing, along with a couple of other outings that Miles orchestrates, make Jordan feel like a giddy schoolboy, it also helps him fall in love with the place. What initially was to be a weekend trip turns into more as Jordan extends his vacation. Of course, one thing about life on the island, especially once the tourist season winds down, is that people start to notice Jordan’s still there too. At one point Jordan even remarks that he must be the subject of town gossip as the people watching out for Miles to make sure he doesn’t get hurt by the city dweller. It’s hard to have any kind of secret in such a tight knit community. More than once their relationship ends up on public display.
Writing Jordan and Miles’s story was a lot of fun. I have great memories of going to Mackinac Island on day trips with my family. Sometimes we’d go over the Mackinac Bridge, which I hated because of its length. More often we’d fly to the island in my grandfather’s four-seater plane. That was my favorite way to go because it was fast and I was much happier flying over water than driving forever over it (at least it seemed like forever to my young self).
I wished I’d been able to get back to the Island for research as I wrote this, especially so I could take my husband who has never been. Luckily in this era of Google, and in particular Google Earth, it was easy to make sure what I remembered and wanted to use was still there. I also found some new places as I took a virtual walk around the island.
The excerpt below is one of the sunset excursion the men shared. It’s the first one they take after Jordan decides to stay on the island longer than originally planned. It’s also one of my favorites in the book. I hope you enjoy it, and that it prompts you to pick up the book to see more of their romance unfold Make sure to check out the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win a free copy as well. Lastly, if you’ve got questions, please leave them in the comments area. I’ll make sure to come back a few times in the coming days to respond.
Thanks for reading!
How far would you go for the man of your dreams?
Now that he’s single, Chicago businessman Jordan Monroe can finally take his long-desired trip to Mackinac Island for the Somewhere In Time fan celebration weekend. On the first day, Jordan finds himself attracted to Miles Colter, a handsome local stable owner who is giving horseback tours of film locations.
Jordan is surprised and charmed that Miles pursues him. When Jordan learns the stable is in trouble, he wants to help despite Miles’s resistance. As their relationship grows personally and professionally, Jordan dreads the issues that face them—an ex who won’t let him go, the complications of a long-distance relationship, and a secret he knows he shouldn’t be keeping.
Can Jordan and Miles find a way to forge a love as timeless as the romance in their favorite film?
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“A personal tour. I’m honored,” I said as I got off the bicycle I used to get to Miles’s stables. He was outside, waiting with Wildfire and Buttercup saddled and ready to go.
I’d been in my room, putting the finishing touches on a presentation I was set to give with Alberto the next day, when Miles’s call came in. He invited me out for a sunset ride, and I felt just like the giddy schoolboy Alberto had accused me of being.
I went right up to Buttercup and stroked the side of her head. Miles handed me an apple to give her as well. It seemed like she recognized me as she sort of nuzzled my hand. Although, maybe she was this way with anyone who fed her. I was less nervous around her since I knew what to expect this time out.
“I’m glad you said yes.” Miles did a final check on the horses to make sure we were good to go. “It’s been a long day of winter prep. Once the Grand closes, we get ready for the slow season. Moving chairs has nothing on getting this place buttoned up.”
It was obvious by his enthusiastic talk and smile that he enjoyed what he did even if he did look a little tired.
“When does winter usually kick in here? So far it just seems like good, crisp fall air. Maybe slightly colder than Chicago.”
Miles chuckled. “It’s really like anywhere else, and it does vary. It’s at its coldest usually late January and February. If the ice bridge is gonna form, it’s usually February.”
“Oh yeah. Between here and St. Ignace, the lake can freeze up and you can walk across or take a snowmobile.”
“I can’t imagine.”
The enthusiasm Miles had for the cold had a warming effect on me. Even with the issues he was having, he stayed upbeat most of the time, at least from what I saw. It was an impressive quality.
“It takes at least a week of zero or below, and with no wind, to create the three or so miles of walkable ice.”
“Be awesome to see that sometime.” I took Buttercup’s reins from Miles.
“I’d love to show you.” He spoke softly and met my gaze briefly before mounting Wildfire. There was longing in his eyes, and I diverted my attention to Buttercup as shyness welled up in me. It was quick, but I wasn’t used to someone looking at me that way. “Shall we?” he asked in regular voice.
I managed to mount Buttercup, with decent form, on my first try. While I wasn’t anxious to ride, I was more than a little nervous—or, maybe, excited—being around Miles. He definitely made me jittery and I just couldn’t figure out all the emotions behind it.
We headed out, and the route was recognizable because it followed the start of the locations tour. Even though I’d been here a few days, it was still odd to be on the streets with no cars. It was far less crowded than over the weekend too.
It didn’t take us long to turn on to Lake Shore Drive, the island’s perimeter road. It was a bit after six and the sun was heading down, brilliantly orange in the clear sky and reflected in a kaleidoscope of reds and yellows on Lake Huron. We passed the Somewhere in Time tree, and it wasn’t much after that we were past town so there were mostly trees on my right and shore to the left. The more I was in secluded places like this, the more I liked it.
We rode side by side, with Miles to my left.
“This is so incredible,” I said. “I know I’ve been here before, but the whole thing is still unbelievable—from being right on the shore to riding a horse instead of being in a car.”
“I thought you’d like this. We’ll stop in a couple of minutes and watch the sun drop behind the bridge.”
The few people who passed us, headed back the way we’d come, said hello. Most called out Miles by name, and all had a friendly greeting. Miles was always quick with the hello, sometimes giving it first. It took me some time to get into it. I’d gotten used to giving nods to the people I passed in town, but it still felt weird greeting practically everyone. It just didn’t happen in the city so it was against my instincts.
“We’re going to pull off to the right here.” Miles pointed to a spot after we’d ridden in comfortable silence for a few minutes.
There was a pull-off that was planked over, like the boardwalk near the Grand. As we came to a stop, a marker caught my eye. This was called Devil’s Kitchen. After we dismounted, Miles tied up the horses while I read the plaque.
“So you’ve brought us to a place where the spirits are said to capture and eat victims who wander too close. Charming,” I said.
“You can imagine the horrors that a child could have venturing too close to this place.” He took one of the saddlebags off Wildfire.
“You’re not planning me as a sacrifice or something, are you?”
“Halloween’s over. Maybe next year.” He winked at me. “Actually this is a perfect spot to watch that.” He pointed to the west, across the lake.
My breath caught, seeing the colors that played across the sky and water in an amazing display as the sun touched the top of the bridge. I’d watched a couple of island sunsets, but this one was spectacular because of our vantage point.
About the author:
Jeff’s written stories since he was in middle school and became a gay romance writer in 2009 when his first short stories were published. Jeff lives in rural Northern California with his husband of twenty years, Will. Some of his favorite things include the musicals Rent and [title of show], the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins hockey teams, and the reality TV competition So You Think You Can Dance. If forced to pick his favorite book it would be a tie between Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay and David Levithan’s Every Day.
He also co-hosts the weekly show Jeff & Will’s Big Gay Fiction Podcast with his husband. You can learn more at BigGayFictionPodcast.com.
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