Today I am so pleased to welcome Ethan Day to Joyfully Jay. Ethan has come to talk to us about his latest release, Love Me Tomorrow. He has also brought along an excerpt and a great giveaway. Please join me in giving Ethan a big welcome!
Just an old-fashioned love story
Hello one and all! Thanks for joining me today as I chat a little bit about the inspiration behind my latest release, Love Me Tomorrow, available now from Wilde City Press. Inspiration for any story often comes from a multitude of different sources. This book was originally intended to be a holiday themed novella about a party planner who finds love while working during the holiday season—that was the initial tagline I carried around inside my head for several months as the story percolated.
Technically, the end result didn’t stray too far from the original tagline. However, early on I was picturing a sweet, funny & heartwarming holiday tale, with just enough heat to keep the windows defrosted. : ) I think all of that is still in there, but a thought came to me while I was working out who my characters were going to be—what their backstories and history might look like—all the things which had happened to these boys in the past that impacted who they turned out to be as men. I began to ponder the possibilities of how their love story might be affected if these characters weren’t able to experience the usual meet-cute typically associated with a gay romantic comedy:
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of the formula because in spite of the tried and true trope being utilized time and again, it’s the ‘who’ that makes each story unique for me, both as a reader and a writer. No two characters should be alike and if that is done successfully, then the journey will inevitably always end up being unique.
All that being said, I became intrigued by the idea of, not being able to have the one thing we so desperately want more than anything else. It’s something I believe almost everyone should be able to relate to. We’ve all been there, whether it be love lost, not getting the perfect job, or perhaps being unable to give your child that thing you know they desire most. We’ve all experienced these emotions at one point or another.
That became my own obsession when writing Love Me Tomorrow. I wanted to tell an old fashioned-esque love story while still being able to utilize a contemporary setting. Once that decision had been made, the entire story unfolded inside my head. There is something titillating about not being able to have the thing you want most, especially when that something is a someone. How do two characters say, I Love You, when they’re unable to speak the words? At what point is someone forced to accept that an infatuation has turned into something deeper and more meaningful? And where do you draw the line between what you believe is the right thing to do versus the right thing for your own happiness?
That all likely sounds very melodramatic, yet it was fun for me as a writer to not only dive into the drama and wade through those emotions, but to simultaneously go searching for and exploiting the opportunity for comedy within those moments. It made working on this particular story very satisfying for me. I hope it will do the same for those who choose to read it. : )
By the time they made their way into the theatre and found decent seats toward the back of the auditorium the opening credits were already running. A night time sky complete with twinkling stars and floating clouds hung over the Arabian courtyard themed auditorium. It seemed magical to Levi, and had always been his favorite part of the theatre.
“It’s pretty,” Jake whispered, pointing up at the ceiling.
Levi smiled and nodded while placing his drink into the cup holder on his right. He scooched far enough back into the seat so the bag of popcorn would fit wedged between his legs.
“I can hold the popcorn if you want,” Jake whispered.
“Nice try, buddy,” Levi said with a smirk.
“What?” he asked, cringing when the couple sitting in front of them each turned and gave them a stern, withering glare. “It’s the friggin’ opening credits, people!”
They turned back around but seemed unfazed by Jake’s credits clarification.
“I only offered in an attempt to be chivalrous,” Jake continued, motioning toward the popcorn.
“I’m no dummy, fresh off the farm, pal. The one who has the corn, holds all the power.”
Jake started snickering over that, covering his mouth with his hand until he managed to maintain control over himself once again.
“That is easily one of the silliest things I’ve ever heard,” he said, cocking his head to the side as if to punctuate the seriousness of his disclaimer.
“Spoken like someone who isn’t holding the corn,” Levi said, smiling evilly.
As if to further prove he had no desire to hold the popcorn Jake reached over and calmly grabbed a handful and began eating it. “Tastes good to me.”
Levi started laughing which had Jake grinning until he noticed the cranky couple had turned around once again.
“Movie’s that way.” Jake pointed for them to turn back around and mind their own business.
“So disruptive,” Levi whispered, shaking his head at Jake as if it were all his fault.
Jake pointed toward the screen for Levi to pay attention to the movie as well.
* * * *
About thirty minutes into the movie, which Levi had barely been able to follow despite having seen this particular film on multiple occasions, he began to take note of a particularly odd sensation taking place between his legs each time Jake reached into the bag of popcorn. About three-fourths of the buttery snack was now gone so when Jake shoved his hand down there, fingers rummaging around to grab a handful of buttery, crunchy goodness, Levi was inadvertently receiving a complimentary nads-massage.
It was more than a little disconcerting considering he always got popcorn when he came to the movies and he always placed the bag in the exact same location where the current one now resided. Apparently he’d fondled his own nuts for so many years now that he no longer took notice when he came to the theatre by himself and was rummaging around the bottom of the bag.
That was mildly disturbing but he tried not to take it personally that his own balls were pretty much over him.
Talk about the ultimate snub.
He watched as Jake’s hand reached over and back down. He didn’t move a muscle though he could feel his cock swelling with each swish of Jake’s hand in the bottom of the bag.
Christ, is he digging for gold down there or what?
He turned to look at Jake, who seemed to be taking his sweet time as he rooted around for the perfect handful of corn. It was obvious he wasn’t paying any attention to what he was doing but at some point he seemed to realize Levi was staring at him so he turned and smiled for a moment. He glanced down at his hand which was shoved between Levi’s legs and his smile faded slightly when he realized what was happening.
Jake ripped his hand out of the bag so fast several pieces of popcorn came flying out with it, shooting up into the air like confetti, which sprinkled down upon the two of them as well as several strangers sitting around them.
Naturally the glaring couple in front of them ended up getting pelted with several pieces, which didn’t go over so well as the man sat all the way up in his seat like he was getting ready to make each of them a knuckle sandwich.
“Sorry!” Levi whispered. “There was a spider… I panicked… my hand twitched… popcorn went flying… totally my bad.”
The lady shot out of her seat and began swatting at her arms and shoulders.
“Dead… spider dead… totally killed that fucker,” Levi said, attempting to reassure the arachnophobic woman he’d unintentionally terrified with his off-the-cuff lie intended to cover up the unintentional ball-fluffing that still had him semi-erect.
The lady sat back down and everyone sitting around them finally settled back down and went back to watching the movie.
Several minutes went by before Levi, who was totally humiliated, finally dared to look over at Jake—whose entire body was shaking from laughter. His hand was planted firmly over his mouth, stifling any noise, but his eyes were watering so much it looked like he might be crying.
Jake pulled his hand away long enough to mouth the words, I’m so sorry, before having to cover up again, unable to maintain control over himself.
Levi was a little annoyed, mostly because he was still aroused with no assurances that there was any relief coming his way anytime soon. More than anything he was embarrassed, and thus felt the need to clarify so he leaned over, whispering into Jake’s ear.
“Didn’t really consider the logistics of the popcorn placement ahead of time.”
Jake eyed him suspiciously. “So you didn’t place it there on purpose? Hoping for a little incidental gropage?”
Shushing once again came from several people around them but the angry dude sitting in front of them didn’t even bother turning around this time, settling for shaking his head in disapproval while keeping his eyes facing forward.
Jake bit down on his lip to keep himself from breaking out in laughter again. Once he settled back down he leaned over and whispered, “Wow, defensive much? Sounded a little haughty there, if you ask me.”
Levi whispered back. “I didn’t ask.”
“So you’re a totally clueless, accidentally pervy prick tease?”
Levi’s mouth fell open and he was grateful for the darkness of the theatre which masked the redness of his flushed cheeks.
“That might actually make you even more attractive—which is saying something ’cause you’re pretty damn cute to start with.”
Levi smiled, shaking his head slightly while resisting the overwhelming urge to lean over and kiss the man. “You’re a lot prettier when you’re not talking.”
Jake chuckled, doing his best to not make a further spectacle.
God, how he wanted to kiss Jake. He couldn’t manage to follow what was happening between Marilyn and Tony Curtis on-screen because all he could think about was leaning over and kissing Jake-the-paramedic off-screen.
That urge to lock lips was so strong that the not-doing-of-it was very likely every bit as titillating as the act itself would no doubt be.
Christ, I’m still half-hard. This is bad—really bad!
It couldn’t possibly be good to like a guy this much before knowing anything about him.
Danger… danger, Will Robinson!
Levi grinned, forcing his attention back on Marilyn. Sad. So sad, she seemed. Beautiful, but sad. Just behind her eyes there was a loneliness that Levi recognized.
Also a totally underrated actress…
He inhaled sharply, but quickly recovered, holding his breath as his gaze landed on the armrest sitting between him and Jake.
Our hands are totally touching!
And he was apparently a twelve-year-old girl trapped inside the body of a thirty-one-year-old gay man. He rolled his eyes, chastising himself.
The theatre erupted in laughter and Levi joined in, though he was doing so more from the sensation of giddiness that had filled his chest from the physical contact. For the first time in a very long time there was a tiny kernel of hope burning deep inside his chest that maybe… just maybe… something real was finally happening for him.
Jake turned to look at him and Levi met his gaze. They each grinned before turning their attention back to the screen, laughing again as Jack Lemmon batted his eyelashes.
He watched Jake glance down at their hands as well. His fingers brushed gently over Levi’s hand before he pulled his away, folding his arms across his chest and turning his attention back to the screen.
Levi awkwardly removed his limb from the arm rest, placing the bag of popcorn on the floor. That finger graze was quite possibly the most erotic thing that happened to him in a good year. That fact was more than a little depressing, but he’d long ago accepted the fact that he was the type who would rather be alone and celibate as opposed to settling for anything less than full-on, crazy-in-love romance. If Levi didn’t feel it and if he didn’t believe the object of his affection did as well, he didn’t waste his time or energy.
In his thirty-one years, he’d never felt anything like this—slightly manic, difficult to concentrate on anything else sort of chest-achy fear and hope all tangled up and intertwined…threatening happiness or heartbreak…or potentially both just over the horizon.
Event planner Levi Goode is positioned to inherit the newly vacated throne, becoming the in-demand party planner for Wilde City’s elite. Years of hard work and perseverance are finally paying off as Levi lands his next big fish, working with socialite Julia Freeman-Kingsley. Distracted by work and dealing with his head strong mother, an ex-Vegas-showgirl suffering from debilitating health issues, Levi has his hands full. Time for love or even the occasional one-night stand, is one aspect of life Levi hasn’t been able to master.
Sparks of interest fly during a chance meeting with a paramedic called to the aid of his mother, and thanks to Ruby’s meddling, Levi finds himself on a movie-date with the handsome Paramedic Jake. Personal and professional worlds collide when Levi realizes his new love interest is actually Jake Freeman, estranged brother to his brand new client. Discovering the man of his dreams already has a boyfriend, leaves Levi stunned realizing any hopes he had for something more with Jake were never going to be anything more than wishful thinking.
Struggling to downshift his expectations and remain friends with Jake while continuing to work closely with Julia quickly consumes all of his time and attention. Wondering if there will ever be a special someone to love him, is where Levi’s love story begins.
I am a gay man living in Missouri…I can hear the gasps already!! How very un-chic of me, yes I know. It was here I was born and here I have stayed.
I’m currently single but always looking for that special someone that makes my heart skip a beat…in addition to being able to put up with my neurotic ass. The worst thing about being a romance writer is finding a real life hottie that can live up to the fantasy I create in my head and subsequently thrust upon him before actually getting to know the real him. I can hear you getting all judgie…it’s an occupational hazard!! To all my past and future boyfriends, my sincerest apologies…I can’t help myself!
I was the youngest of four children and the only boy, so needless to say, I was spoiled rotten. I’ve always had an extravagant fantasy life. When I played with my Star Wars action figures as a child, I liked to make up my own stories. Naturally, Luke Skywalker and Han Solo were totally meant for each other, and Princess Leia made a bitchin’ wise cracking Fag Hag.
I somehow managed to survive high school living in a small racist town in Southeast Missouri and emerged unscathed, realizing life was too short to pretend to be anything other than who I was. I was the little homo that could…so damn it, I did! It was all very Lifetime Movie Network meets After School Special I assure you.
After a few stints in college, I eventually signed up for a Creative Writing course. I took the class because there were no tests. For once my scholastic laziness paid off, and I found an outlet for all the fantasies running amuck in my head. It was love at first write, and I’ve been doing it off and on ever since.
Now I’ve decided it’s time to un-barricade the doors and unleash my imagination onto the world. So very sorry world!! My fantasy life is now available for public consumption and I’m desperately hoping you’re really, really hungry.
Ethan has brought a copy of Love Me Tomorrow to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Wednesday March 18th at 11:59 pm EST.
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