Today I am so pleased to welcome Elisabeth Staab to Joyfully Jay. Elisabeth has come to talk to us about her latest release, By the Rules. She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving Elisabeth a big welcome!
Reasons you should NOT read By the Rules
My latest novel, By the Rules, is a special one for me. This story of a fancy-pants corporate guy and a former male escort who (of course) absolutely hates corporate guys was an emotional roller coaster that had me laughing and crying—sometimes at the same time—when I was all done. I hated to say goodbye to Hayden and AJ when I’d spent so much time with them. AJ has been with me for three books now, but for those who don’t read m/f romance (which the rest of the Evergreen Grove series is), each book reads perfectly well as a standalone.
In my totally biased opinion, By the Rules is a story I’d love for everyone to enjoy. My heroes are funny even when the going gets tough, and in spite of their initial friction they’re perfect together. But I can think of a few reasons By the Rules might not be up someone’s alley, so I thought I’d go ahead and get those out of the way. Just in case…
- Men in suits. Hot, right? Tailored slacks and power ties. In By the Rules, AJ’s love interest, Hayden, ditches his button-up shirts when he returns to the small town of Evergreen Grove where he grew up. But he starts By the Rules striding around with designer jackets and a do-as-I-say attitude. Not into men in suits? We’ll have to agree to disagree, and you should either take a pass on By the Rules or simply skip the first few chapters. 😉
- Enemies to lovers. Personally, it’s my favorite romance trope. I mean, what’s better than all that angry “get out of my way” stuff turning into “get out of your pants and into my bed” stuff? If you don’t enjoy the hate to love stuff, don’t read By the Rules.
- Unicorns. It’s a thing. Or… they’re a thing? Yeah. One of my heroes, AJ, he’s taken being an individual to the extreme go-big-or-go-home level and the unicorn is his spirit animal. Or as AJ would put it, “Sweetie, I am the unicorn.” Anyway, if you don’t like unicorns (or spirit animals)? You shouldn’t read By the Rules.
- Handymen are handy. AJ’s existence is as eclectic as his wardrobe. His primary job is working as the local motel handyman, which he actually does with a certain amount of joy and pride. There’s plenty of down and dirty repair type stuff that leads to awkward up-close situations. If you dislike handymen and two men invading each other’s personal space while making home repairs, you shouldn’t read By the Rules.
- Caulk jokes. Come on, AJ’s a handyman. There’s caulk. Caulk. So caulk jokes. Don’t like caulk jokes? Or other jokes? Don’t read By the Rules.
- Plot twists. By the Rules has a few big ones. I don’t want to give too many hints, but as the author I can tell you that once or twice even I was surprised. You might enjoy it. If you like that sort of thing.
- Shoes. Okay, well if you don’t like shoes then I’m sorry but I don’t think we can be friends. I’m kidding. Mostly. But AJ does really have a thing for shoes. S’os you know.
- Post-rain snuggling. Early in By the Rules, Hayden and AJ get caught in a chilly downpour. While camping. In October. They have to get close and keep each other warm. So. Yanno… Maybe you don’t like guys cuddling? If you don’t, then you should definitely not read By the Rules.
If you do like any of that stuff I just mentioned, there’s all that and more in By the Rules, and I really hope you’ll check it out.
AJ and his unicorn collection will thank you.
I’ve talked down angry special-ops guys who wanted their new training facility built right-fucking-yesterday. I’ve straightened up uncommunicative project managers. I can crack AJ Fabin.
I will crack AJ Fabin.
I hold out the flask of rum. With a glance down at the hand of cards we just played, I ask again, “So? You’ve clearly disliked me since the day I got to Evergreen Grove. This can’t all be about the fact that I splashed a little coffee on your shoe. If it means that much, I’ll replace the shoes.”
The deal was that we’d drink or pass, so when he takes the flask and swallows with a wince, I assume he’s passing. I get ready for the next hand. “Okay, then.”
“It’s not about the coffee,” he murmurs. “It’s about everything. Everything you represent is vile.” Even from the shadow of the tent corner his penetrating stare unnerves me.
I don’t like being unnerved by AJ. I want to unnerve him right back. “Well thanks. I’ll have you know there’s a birthmark on my hip shaped like a jelly bean that has gotten rave reviews. I also make pretty killer French toast.
But you go ahead and judge. Actually, do you mind if I get comfortable? Having my jeans on inside a sleeping bag feels like I’ve got my legs in restraints.”
I go for my belt buckle without waiting for him to answer. He takes another swig from my flask with one hand. The other hand gives a lazy gesture that I assume means to go about my business.
I don’t know if AJ’s a hard-core drinker, but for me that rum packs a punch. If he keeps hitting that flask, this will be a short game.
I throw my pants to the side.
He thinks I want him because of the rumors around town. Because I think he’s easy. I want AJ, because he’s AJ.
No liars. No suits. Absolutely no straight guys…
AJ Fabin’s list of rules keeps him safe. Since getting kicked out of his parents’ home and attacked by a former escorting client, his rules and his life in the tiny town of Evergreen Grove provide a quiet haven. He may be lonely, and he may stick out like a sore thumb, but the folks like him well enough. When he’s not dodging his old pimp, things are peaceful.
Hayden Price is having a quarter-life crisis. Engaged to a woman he can’t connect to and working a job he secretly hates, he comes to Evergreen Grove to help his mother through a health scare. Returning to his childhood home makes Hayden reevaluate a lot of things, including himself. When he meets AJ and finds he can’t stand the mouthy jerk—almost as much as he can’t stop thinking about him—he has a lot more to change than his career.
To be together, they’ll both have to break all of their rules.
By the Rules is book 3 in the Evergreen Grove series, but reads as a standalone.
Elisabeth Staab loves passionate stories and happy endings. Her books have been called “emotionally delicious,” “action-packed,” and “gloriously snarky.” When not writing romance about vampires and werewolves and emotionally wounded boxers (oh, my!), she enjoys date night with her husband, reading with her kids, and marathoning her favorite books or TV series. Keep up with all the latest shenanigans by following her newsletter, stopping by ElisabethStaab.com, or finding her on Facebook and Twitter.
Elisabeth has brought a $25 Amazon gift card and swag to give away along her tour. You can enter by following the entry form link below .
The rest of the stops can be found at http://theherdpresents.blogspot.com/2016/01/by-the-rules-tour.html
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Thanks for sharing By the Rules today!
Sounds like a fun read!
Hope you enjoy. Happy reading!
Thank you for the post. It looks like an interesting book. Thank you for the giveaway chance.
Thanks for checking out By the Rules!
I love your list! So, I’ll have to check out the book. Thanks!
Thank you! Hope you enjoy!
Interesting post – I enjoy enemies to lovers stories. Your mention about some big twists in the story caught my interest too.
Enemies to lovers are my absolute favorite!
New to me author so I gotta try this, maybe get the first of series.
By the Rules reads fine as a standalone, but you definitely get a little more of AJ’s life and background by reading At the Stars and Acts of Creation, which are the first two books in the series. 🙂
I like the list–especially post rain snuggling. Thanks. 🙂
Post-rain snuggling is awesome. Thank you for checking out By the Rules!
Thanks for the post and list! You are a new author for me, so I am looking forward to reading your books.
Thanks so much. I hope you enjoy By the Rules. Happy reading!
Congrats on the new release! I look forward to reading it.
Thanks so much! Happy reading!
Congrats on your book release!!!! Thanks for the review and giveaway!!!
Congratulations on the release and looking forward to reading it! Love the post! Especially the list.
It sounds so good! Thank you for the chance!
Nothing scared me off, so I guess this is going on my TBR! 😉
This sounds incredibly fun!
Elisabeth Staab is a new author for me but I loved everything read in the post. I can’t wait to read more. Thank you for the introduction!