Today I am so pleased to welcome Dev Bentham to Joyfully Jay. Dev has brought an exclusive excerpt from her latest release, Whistle Blower. She has also brought along a book to give away. Please join me in giving Dev a big welcome!

 

Whistle Blower

 

Excerpt

Ben runs the Wildcat Island Resort. He’s still grieving the loss of Manny, his longtime partner. Jacob is a New Yorker who’s visiting the resort. Ben is teaching him to row.

 

Ben sat in a folding chair, drinking his coffee and watching the battered double scull bounce against the dock. It belonged to a camp run by an old friend of Manny’s down in Minocqua. Ben had called him the evening before. Manny’s friend had agreed to let him have the boat for a day, so Ben had driven down before dawn to pick it up. He kept telling himself it was all part of the Wildcat Island Resort service, but that was a lie. There were plenty of things he could be doing for other customers, instead of anticipating spending a few hours in a small boat with Jacob.

The water was glass still. A perfect rowing day. If Jacob didn’t show soon, Ben might just walk up to his cabin and roust him out of bed. The thought made him smile.

The dock boards creaked. Ben looked up to see Jacob strolling toward him in crisply creased board shorts and a tee, his water shoes so new Ben imagined he smelled the neoprene from twenty feet away. Jacob was an odd duck in the Northwoods, and there was something endearing about his sheer out-of-placeness.

Ben set his coffee cup down and stood. He pointed to the double. “Sorry to make you get up early, but I thought we could get some good rowing in before people come down from breakfast wanting boats and bait.”

Jacob gazed out over the lake. “I can’t believe how smooth the water is.”

“Best time to row.” Ben knelt to untie the double. “We’ve only got the use of this for today, but that ought to be enough to get you steadier on the water. You get in the stern. No, that’s the bow. Remember, we row backwards.”

Ben held the boat still as Jacob climbed in. The old double might be a clunker to row, but that only made it more stable. Still, the scull swayed beneath Ben as he climbed in behind Jacob.

Ben spoke softly. “We’re going to lift our oars off the dock, slide away, and put them flat on the water once they’re clear, okay?”

Jacob nodded, his back rigid. Poor guy had gone over so many times the day before he was probably expecting to get wet any minute. Ben pushed gently on the dock, and the scull drifted away enough so he could lay his oar blades on the water to steady them. All things being equal, he’d rather not get wet this morning.

“I’ve got us. Try a few strokes.” Ben held the boat in place with his oar blades and talked into the dark hair at the base of Jacob’s neck. He inhaled the expensive scent of Jacob’s aftershave, a subtle musky fragrance that suited him.

Ben sat at the back of his slide, using his oars for balance, and talked Jacob through the basics. With Ben holding the boat steady, Jacob started to get the hang of it. As his confidence grew, the boat wobbled less, and Ben was able to lift up on his oars every now and then and let Jacob fly without training wheels. He was a natural. Who would have guessed?

Jacob’s muscles bunched and stretched as he rowed. His tee shirt spread tight across his shoulders at the top of his stroke. Then his legs engaged and he pushed back, coming within inches of Ben’s lap every time. He worked hard. Ben inhaled the smell of his sweat. He tried to concentrate on the sweep of Jacob’s oars in the water. He cleared his throat and made a suggestion about the angle of Jacob’s oar. And when he’d tortured himself enough, he let Jacob rest and rowed them back to Wildcat Resort and the rest of his duties.

Once they were on dry land again, Jacob grinned. “That was great.”

“Are you up for another try after lunch?”

“Absolutely.” Jacob rubbed his right triceps. “I’ll be sore tomorrow, though.”

“We’ll switch positions, and you can watch me row. See if that helps.” Ben hoped he wasn’t just showing off, but he might be. Before he could worry about it too much, a guest from cabin four called to him, wanting to buy some bait.

But Jacob was smiling at him. “What time?”

Ben had way too much to do to spend all afternoon playing around in a boat. But what the hell? “One.”

“See you then.”

Jacob turned and walked up the dock before Ben could respond. Cabin four cleared his throat, and Ben tore his gaze away from the retreating ass that looked as good in board shorts as it had in a Speedo.

“Right.” He stepped into the dark boathouse. “Night crawlers or minnows?”

 

 

They got a short row in at one and another at four. Ben wanted Jacob to have as much time in the double as possible. When they finally hauled the boat up onto the dock, dinner was already being served.

Jacob gestured to the scull. “Where does this go?”

“On the pontoon.” Ben knelt and took hold of the bow, nodding for Jacob to do the same. “I promised to get it back tonight.”

Once they had it secured on the pontoon, Ben shook Jacob’s hand. “Go on up. Dinner’ll be almost over.”

“Aren’t you eating?” This time Jacob held Ben’s grip just a little bit longer than expected.

Ben shook his head. “I’ll get something on the way.”

“I’ll come with you. Buying you dinner is the least I can do after all your instruction today.”

Jacob dropped Ben’s hand. Ben ignored the little tingle that ran up his arm from the place where Jacob’s hand had been.

Ben looked into Jacob’s dark brown eyes for a long moment. He knew he was playing a dangerous game. This man might look like Manny, but he wasn’t. And wouldn’t ever be. Still, he was warm and alive, and dinner wasn’t much of a commitment.

“How about we grab a burger on the way down, and you can buy me a beer on the way back.”

Jacob grinned. “Let me get my wallet.”

Ben watched him sprint up the dock and across the beach. Gorgeous.


Blurb

Whistle BlowerMoney can’t buy happiness. Jacob Nussbaum knows this better than anyone. He’s a corporate lawyer deep inside a huge New York firm, where he works overtime, sacrifices any chance at a personal life, and has been selling his soul for years. With a secretary as his only friend, he trudges on, until his whole world is blown apart by a manila envelope of photos—evidence that one of the firm’s partners is the dirtiest lawyer in one hell of a filthy business.

In search of the truth, Jacob travels to a small northern Wisconsin fishing resort. There he meets Ben Anderson, a brutally lonely man, who knocks him off his feet. Ben prompts Jacob to reevaluate his life. He’s a dozen years older than Jacob, still recovering from the death of his long time love, and doesn’t want to leave anyone a widower. But a jaded New Yorker on a soul-searching mission might be just the man to convince the grieving Ben that it’s never too late to begin again.

 

Buy links:


Bio

Dev BenthamDev Bentham writes soulful m/m romance. Her characters are flawed and damaged adult men who may not even know what they are missing, but whose lives are transformed by true love.


Giveaway

Dev has brought a winner’s choice from her backlist (available at DevBentham.com) to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Tuesday  February 9th at 11:59 pm EST.

  • By entering the giveaway, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
  • Winners will be selected by random number. No purchase necessary to win.  The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.
  • If you win, you must respond to my email within 48 hours or another winner may be chosen. Please make sure that your spam filter allows email from Joyfully Jay.
  • Winners may be announced on the blog following the contest. By entering the contest you are agreeing to allow your name to be posted and promoted as the contest winner by Joyfully Jay.
  • Prizes will be distributed following the giveaway either by Joyfully Jay or the person/organization donating the prize.
  • All book prizes are in electronic format unless otherwise specified.
  • By entering you are agreeing to hold Joyfully Jay harmless if the prize or giveaway in some way negatively impacts the winner.
  • Readers may only enter once for each contest.  Duplicate entries for the same giveaway will be ignored. In the event of technical problems with the blog during the contest, every effort will be made to extend the contest deadline to allow for additional entries.
  • Void where prohibited by law.
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