Today I am so pleased to welcome DJ Jamison to Joyfully Jay. DJ has come to talk to us about her latest release, Heart Trouble. She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
I fully intended to end my Ashe Sentinel Connections series at Book 5. Then Ben happened.
A secondary character, Ben was designed for one purpose: to get his heart broken. Rather cruel of me, in retrospect. And when Book 5 was finished and released, Ben wasn’t willing to fade away so easily. He spoke to me, and I had to listen.
The story came swiftly, and I happily gave Ben his book. Though it’s part of a series, it can easily be read as a standalone. “Heart Trouble” has the slimmest ties of all the Ashe Sentinel Connections series to the central point of the series: the newspaper. This story focuses on Ben, a nurse, and a journalism instructor who happens to be a tad accident prone, landing him in the ER.
The story resonated with me so strongly, I intend to launch a spin-off series called Bedside Manner, which will focus on secondary characters we meet in Heart Trouble.
I hope you’ll give Ben’s story a chance. Below, you’ll see from the book blurb and the excerpt, that he is a man who has been burned and is skittish about love. He and Gage has to work hard for their happy ending, but I hope you won’t have to work hard to read it!
Ben was quiet on the way back to his house, and Gage was almost certain he was going to change his mind. But when he pulled into the drive, Ben glanced over with a mischievous smile.
Ben laughed at his enthusiasm, eyes bright. Gone was the distant, tense man who’d kicked Gage out of his bedroom the morning after they’d first hooked up.
“Come on, then.”
Gage followed him inside. His blood thrummed with anticipation, and he was almost more anxious than the first time they slept together. It had been fantastic before, but that also meant there were high expectations.
Ben headed for the kitchen, so Gage trailed after him like the lovesick puppy he was.
“Bruiser! Here kitty!”
He grabbed a bag of cat food from the pantry and began pouring a bowl. From the back of the house, Gage heard a quiet meow and the thump of a cat jumping to the floor.
“He’s not going to attack my feet again, is he?”
Ben cast a look over his shoulder, a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. “There are no guarantees. But you like to live dangerously, right?”
“No,” Gage countered, circling the kitchen island to snag Ben around the waist and pull him flush against his body. “You just tell yourself that so you don’t have to give me a chance.”
Ben pulled away. “Are we going to do this now?”
Gage cocked his head, watching Ben move so that the breakfast bar was situated between them once again. It didn’t stop Gage from noticing the rigid set to Ben’s shoulders or the flush in his cheeks that was sadly not from arousal.
“We can do anything you want,” he said carefully.
Ben relaxed a fraction. “You mean that, don’t you?”
Grabbing an orange from the bowl of fruit on the counter, he tossed it from one hand to the other, giving away his nerves.
“You’re not angry about what happened last time you were here?”
Gage shrugged a shoulder. “A little at first, but mostly I was disappointed.”
Bruiser finally slunk into the kitchen behind Ben, ignoring Gage completely to his relief, and sniffed around his bowl. He looked down at the food as if he was far too good to eat it — though maybe that was just the impression his squashed face gave — before turning to give Ben a plaintive meow.
Ben dropped to a crouch and stroked his hand down Bruiser’s body, starting at his head and running down this spine to the very tip of his tail. Bruiser arched into his touch, looking far more tame than the last time Gage saw him.
“I’m sorry,” Ben said finally, without looking up from Bruiser. “I’m amazed you even talked to me after that.”
“Don’t get me wrong. I’d rather it didn’t happen again.”
Ben stood, turning to face him. Bruiser sneezed loudly behind him and tucked into his dinner.
“So, what are we doing, Gage? Dating?”
“Technically, we’re already dating,” he pointed out. “I asked you to consider these outings dates. To see where things might go.”
“True, but …”
Ben trailed off, nibbling on his bottom lip. Gage had already noticed he did that whenever he was nervous.
Gage didn’t want to have this talk with a barrier between them. He edged between Bruiser’s swishing tail and the counter so he could take Ben’s hands in his own. Lifting them, he kissed his knuckles.
“What do you want, Ben?”
Ben looked up, brown eyes intent. His voice was hardly more than a whisper when he admitted the truth. “I want you.”
Gage dropped his head to kiss him, and Ben slid his arms around his neck.
“Whatever you want,” Gage murmured against Ben’s cheek.
“Can we just not do the whole define the relationship thing. Just see where it goes?”
It wasn’t everything Gage wanted, but it was a hell of a lot more than he expected to get when they began the drive to Ben’s place. He could be patient. Eventually, Ben would give in. He had too much heart to do anything else.
“Anything you want,” he repeated, before kissing him again.
When Gage Evans gets a look at his hot nurse, he’s smitten immediately. Too bad he’s given the nurse the impression he’s some kind of daredevil. It couldn’t be further from the truth. Gage is a college journalism instructor writing a series of guest columns that require him to jump into new experiences — a fun bucket list, but one that does nothing to convince Ben he’s not an adrenaline junkie.
Fresh off his latest heartbreak, nurse Ben Griggs is wary when one of his patients shows an interest in him — especially when that patient showed up in the ER after a motorcycle accident. Ben’s last sex partner was a biker, a friend with benefits, and he dropped Ben cold when someone more interesting came along. Ben isn’t the kind of guy who can hold the interest of an adrenaline junkie like Gage Evans for long. The last thing he wants is to lose his heart to the wrong man again.
The more Ben gets to know Gage, the harder he is to resist. He can only hold on for the ride and keep his guard up as much as he can. But Ben’s lack of trust seriously gets in the way of building a relationship, and Gage will only be patient so long. Can he trust Gage enough to give him heart, or are they destined to have a fling that goes nowhere?
Buy link: Amazon
DJ Jamison spent more than a decade working in newsrooms, which helped immensely in her development of the Ashe Sentinel Connections series about a small-town newspaper staff, their sources and their readers. She has several news series in the works, as well. DJ loves connecting on social media. Join her group DJ and Company for fun teasers, giveaways and other tidbits.
DJ has brought a $10 Amazon gift card for one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Thursday, October 13th at 11:59 pm EST.
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