Today I am so pleased to welcome Heidi Cullinan to Joyfully Jay. Heidi has come to share an exclusive excerpt with us from her latest release, Short Stay (which I reviewed early this week and LOVED). She has also brought along two great giveaways. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Elijah tapped a reply to Kelly, telling them to go on ahead. When he finished, he saw Randy watching him, patiently inquisitive.
Elijah tossed his phone on the table and downed his Coke, wishing it had rum in it. When he set his glass aside, there was another glass in his way. It looked a lot like Randy’s drink. Glancing over, he saw it was Randy’s drink.
“You seemed as if you needed it more than me.” Randy signaled the waitress, who nodded before disappearing in the direction of the bar.
Elijah stared into the pale brown liquid. It smelled of whiskey. “I…have a bad history of drinking or taking drugs to avoid my emotions.”
“Sure, I hear you. You’re not an alcoholic, though, right? You were drinking before.”
Elijah wasn’t sure what the qualifications for alcoholic were, but he thought he’d managed to steer clear of that label, at least.
Randy opened his hand on the top of the table, palm up. “Make you a deal. You drink this one, take the edge off, pull open a few laces on your anxiety corset. Tell me why you’re upset, and I’ll help you fix it. Enough liquor to float you, not enough to drown you.”
Elijah cut a sideways glance at him. “Why are you doing this? Why is the whole casino acting as if we’re royalty?” Why do you care about me?
Randy’s smile was crooked but honest. “We’re a full-service kind of place.”
Elijah sipped at the drink. It tasted…creamy. Whiskey-creamy. “Is this really strong Baileys or something?”
“Baileys and Jameson. Dirty Whiskey.”
Elijah took another sip, this one bigger. “It’s good.”
“Ask for it in any place in Vegas with a poker room, they’ll know how to make it.” He leaned back in the booth, accepting the drink from the waitress with a fluid ease, making Elijah wish he could look as cool. “Now. You ready to fess up to Uncle Randy, or do you need more drink in you first?”
Elijah shrugged. “There’s not much to tell. He’s either still asleep, or he’s being a pouting asshole. I want to be up there sitting with him, but he doesn’t want to be with anybody when he feels lousy. Why this means I have to go hang out with total strangers, I don’t know. But whatever he wants, he usually gets.”
“Oh, don’t play defeatist with me. You aren’t a meek little puppy. So why aren’t you punching back now?”
“I don’t know. I’m intimidated by Vegas, I guess.”
“There is no need for that. I could show you how to bring it to its knees in one motorcycle ride.”
The thought thrilled Elijah, but only for a moment. “The whole point of coming here was to get less intimidated with him.” He pushed the drink away. “Now I’m pouting.”
“He wants the same thing as you, you know. To be here with you. Actually, he wants to spend ridiculous sums of money on you. Treat you like…ha. Like a prince. Which you don’t care for, which drives him nuts and makes him try harder. Goddamn, but you two are never going to be bored.”
Book 3.5 in the Love Lessons Series
Hot messes have a hard time with happily ever after.
Baz Acker and Elijah Prince have it all. They’re engaged, and their wedding is guaranteed to be a spectacle no event will ever top. So why are they hunkered down in a quiet corner of the Acker mansion, restless and edgy while they wait out the holidays?
When Baz suggests a road trip with Walter and Kelly to Las Vegas, it sounds like an ideal escape, but it turns out Vegas only amplifies their unease. Elijah can’t slough off the self-hating his parents programmed into him, and he worries how that will affect his marriage. Baz, crippled en route because of too much time spent in the car without rest, must face the truth that his wealth and influence can’t always counteract the limits his disability will put on his—and Elijah’s—life.
With help from their friends, a wily poker player, a take-no-prisoners drag queen, and a smooth-talking casino owner, they face the truth that happiness is a state of mind, not a destination where they book a stay. What happens in Vegas won’t stay in Vegas—it will follow them all the way down the aisle.
This novella was written for and by the request of Heidi’s Patreon readers. It is a continuation of a story begun in the novel Lonely Hearts in the Love Lessons series, also incorporating characters from the Special Delivery series. It is suggested but not required that you read at least Lonely Hearts before reading this book.
Heidi 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 family. Find out more about Heidi at heidicullinan.com.
Heidi has brought a copy of Short Stay 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 Sunday, May 29th at 11:59 pm EST.
Heidi also has a tour wide Rafflecopter giveaway going on. You can enter through the Rafflecopter link below.
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