Today I am so pleased to welcome Heidi Cullinan to Joyfully Jay. Heidi has come to share an excerpt with us from her latest release, Lonely Hearts. I read this and LOVED it (and review is up later today). Heidi has also brought along some great giveaways! Please join me in giving her a big welcome!

 

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Excerpt

If drugs could make Elijah feel the way being with Baz Acker did, he’d have died of an overdose years ago.

Baz kept his hand on Elijah at all times, usually on his ass. When people gave them questioning glances, Baz became more proprietary, all but pissing a circle around Elijah.

They had to linger at Baz’s end of the table, where he reassured Damien and Marius he was fine, just occupied, which he punctuated with an open grope of Elijah. For his part, Elijah tried to play giddy trick, which wasn’t hard, but he came up short when Damien started to lecture Baz.

“Do you think that’s appropriate?” A darting glance indicated Elijah.

Setting his teeth in a feral grin, Elijah leaned into Damien. “Oh, sweetie. I’m sorry. Were you jealous?”

A feminine gasp reminded Elijah Damien had a fiancée, but Baz’s bright laughter cut through before panic could set in. “Down, Cujo. He’s being a nice guy.”

“Don’t pity me.” Elijah mellowed into a simple glare. “You want to fuss over somebody, go to Aaron.”

Damien raised his eyebrows at Baz. “Must be like looking in a mirror.”

Baz tipped his mouth in a crooked smile that could mean about anything. It faded, though, when Marius put a hand on Baz’s arm to pull him aside, the cocky expression replaced by thin-lipped earnestness.

Damien spoke into Elijah’s ear. “A word of warning. Talk to Marius the way you did to me, and it’ll be Baz who snarls.”

A tendril of shame curled through Elijah. “Sorry.”

“You’re not.” Damien didn’t seem upset, though. “Don’t get stars in your eyes over him. He doesn’t mean to, but he’ll break your heart. Marius and I have the scars to prove it, and we’re only his friends. If you’re fool enough to think you’re the exception, you’re already screwed.”

Elijah shrugged, turning away so Damien didn’t see the flush on his cheeks. “You can stand down. I’m not looking for a savior.”

“He is.”?Those words echoed in Elijah as Baz finally extricated himself from Marius and took Elijah to the dance floor. That he was hoping for a savior in Elijah made his skin crawl—but then he remembered the confession from the Tesla.

I worry about you. Not something you said to someone you hoped would save you. That was the other way around.

Elijah frowned at Baz, who was enigmatic once more behind his glasses. “You don’t make any fucking sense.”

Baz’s only response was to quirk an eyebrow and draw Elijah closer. An extended remix of “Get Lucky” played, and Baz was trying to lead them in a dirty dance, but it hadn’t escaped Elijah’s notice Baz barely moved at all, doing his best to keep his weight off his left hip. Elijah had assumed the handful of pills Baz popped in the car was Baz joining the party. Obviously those drugs truly had been medicinal.

He flicked the center of Baz’s chest. “What the fuck are you dancing for, if you hurt?”

“Honey, if I only danced when I didn’t hurt, I never would.” He drew Elijah closer, bringing his stomach into contact with Baz’s groin. “Besides, moving around usually helps.” Sounded like a crock of shit to Elijah, but he was tired of keeping track of Baz’s BS. “So

you’re telling me you hurt all the time? That sucks.”?“Beats being dead.”?The quip had an edge to it. “What the fuck happened to you in high school, anyway?”

Too late, Elijah remembered the Xanax lack of filter. He held up his hands. “Forget it. Ignore me. Or lie. Tell me you fell out of a jet or something.”

Baz pushed hair out of Elijah’s eyes. “I was bashed outside of a Boystown bar on my sixteenth birthday. I lived. My boyfriend didn’t.”

Elijah stumbled. He shook as he recovered his balance, staring intently at Baz.

What did Baz find that night you first met in Saint Paul? You, trapped in an alley with a bad trick. Must have been one fuck of a flashback. That’s why you freak him out. You’re a goddamned ghost. You probably even look the same as the old boyfriend.

Elijah told himself it was fucking stupid for the knowledge to hurt. What, he thought one fucking blow job through a moonroof meant fairy godmothers were real?

Baz’s eyebrow arched over the glasses. “No pity, and all Xanaxed up too. I’m impressed.”

“I’ve been to reparative therapy. Some of us get our hell in one whap upside the head, some of us spend ten months on our knees.”

You are an asshole, Elijah’s rusty conscience screamed at him, but Baz only smiled. “I like you, Elijah Prince.”

Elijah tried to throw his walls back up, but he was far too drugged. “Fuck.”

Pretty sure that was a wink behind those glasses. “Give me another fifteen minutes to let the oxycodone fully kick in, and you’re on.”

“Yes, so we can live out Sid and Nancy: This Time They’re Gay.”

Elijah watched to see if he’d get the reference. It was an admittedly obscure test—how many millennials knew about a codependent, tragic 1970s punk romance glamorized in a mid-eighties movie? But Elijah wanted him to pass. Come on. Show you’re a freak like me.

Baz neither confirmed nor denied. With a sideways grin, he drew Elijah in close. “Don’t try to brush me off. I know how to push your buttons now. I can make you putty in my hands with barely any effort at all.”

He skimmed a touch up Elijah’s side and a deft tuck into his crack. Elijah would have had a tough time resisting that sober, but as it was, he all but sat on Baz’s index finger in front of a bunch of Minnesota Nice. He groaned when Baz pulled away, but Elijah swatted at him—and missed—when he laughed.

“You’d better be good, is all I can say, you neurotic mess.” Elijah rested his cheek against Baz’s chest and shut his eyes when Baz enveloped him in a swaying embrace. “And if you say it takes one to know one, I’ll bite you.”

“Promises, promises.”

Everyone around them boogied to Daft Punk, but the two of them downshifted into a slow dance. It was nice, until he saw Baz limp. He pressed his fingers to Baz’s ribs, trying to guess which ones were titanium through his skin, which of course he couldn’t.

Baz kissed his hair and slid a hand over Elijah’s ass. “Oxy’s full power. Still up for a tour of the backseat?”

Oh yeah. Elijah was up all right. Nuzzling Baz’s shirtfront, he opened a button with his teeth and teased at the hairless chest above the vee of his undershirt. “Bring it on, Sid.”

Baz laughed and slipped a hand into Elijah’s waistband. “Oh no, you don’t. I call dibs on Nancy. I’m the one with the drugs, after all.”


Blurb

Lonely Hearts CoverEven hot messes need a happily ever after.

With the quiet help of his wealthy family, Sebastian “Baz” Acker has successfully kept his painful past at bay. But as the end of college draws near, his friends—his buffer zone—are preparing to move on, while his own life is at a crippling standstill.With loneliness bearing down on him, Baz hooks up—then opens up—with Elijah Prince, the guy Baz took a bullet for last year. The aftershocks of their one-night stand leave giant cracks in Baz’s carefully constructed armor. For the first time, the prospect isn’t terrifying.

Accustomed to escaping his demons by withdrawing into his imagination, Elijah isn’t used to having a happy herd of friends. He’s even less comfortable as the object of a notorious playboy’s affections. Yet all signs seem to indicate this time happiness might be within his grasp. When Baz’s mother runs for a highly sought-after public office, the media hounds drag Baz’s and Elijah’s pasts into the light. In the blinding glare, Baz and Elijah face the ultimate test: discovering if they’re stronger together…or apart.

Warning: Contains sex in a Tesla, sex in a cupboard, sex under a piano, kinky role play, and a cappella RuPaul songs. Just a couple of boys groping, battling, then finally loving their way to becoming men.


Bio

Heidi Cullinan head shotHeidi Cullinan has always enjoyed a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. Proud to be from the first Midwestern state with full marriage equality, Heidi is a vocal advocate for LGBT rights. She writes positive-outcome romances for LGBT characters struggling against insurmountable odds because she believes there’s no such thing as too much happy ever after. When Heidi isn’t writing, she enjoys cooking, reading, playing with her cats, and watching television with her husband and teenaged daughter. Find out more about Heidi at heidicullinan.com.


Giveaway

Heidi has brought a copy of Lonely Hearts to give away to one lucky Joyfully Jay reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Friday, August 14th at 11:59 pm EST.

Heidi also has a tour wide giveaway going on with LOTS of great goodies! You can enter for that using the Rafflecopter link below.

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  • All book prizes are in electronic format unless otherwise specified.
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