Today I am so pleased to welcome Annabeth Albert to Joyfully Jay. Annabeth has come to share an exclusive excerpt from her latest release, Tender With A Twist. She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Greetings! Thank you so much for having me today! I’m celebrating the release of my latest book, TENDER WITH A TWIST, which features a kinky wood carver and a much younger chef. A lot of readers have asked me if chainsaw wood carving is really a thing. Yes, yes it is ! And I’ve brought an excerpt today from one of my favorite scenes in the book when Logan is at a Chainsaw Carving festival for the first time, watching Curtis work.
“Oh, I suppose I could let you carry a few things.” He was in a good mood, one that kept up through breakfast at a little diner where he had coffee and oatmeal and toast and I had an omelet. Several people recognized him at breakfast, and he greeted them all like old friends. He introduced me by name, which I supposed was a step up from “kid,” but didn’t otherwise explain my presence. Not that I’d expected him to. Even if we had been anything other than tentative friends who had a lot of kinky sex, I didn’t think Curtis was the type to go trotting out the boyfriend label.
I tried not to let that bug me as we got unloaded over at the place where the carvers would work. It was a cold, windy day, but Curtis and the other carvers didn’t seem to care. He looked like an ad for Pendleton blankets—total lumberjack porn in a red and gray plaid flannel jacket, gray knit cap, heavy work boots, bulging biceps, groomed beard, and a fierce smile for everyone who came up to him.
I’d taken my own wardrobe cues from him—a heavy work shirt over a hoodie, my thickest belt, and the boots that were starting to feel like a part of me. I didn’t care what people close to me thought—I loved my new look. I felt more myself than I had in years. And I fit with the rougher, more rural crowd at the event more than I would have in my old preppy clothes. There were a lot of cowboy hats, camo pants, and denim jackets.
There were around fifteen carvers, each of whom had brought people with them. Lots of families and multi-generational groups and everyone seemed to know everyone else from the carving circuit and other festivals. As the morning drew on, tourists started arriving, many on motorcycles, and, like the carving entourages, a lot of them seemed to be regulars at the event.
“Curtis. You son of a bitch. Been too long.” An older, burly man in a motorcycle jacket and leather pants approached Curtis as he was taking a break between carving the pieces. He was accompanied by a woman with long blond hair and a fringed leather jacket.
“Burt. Betty.” Curtis did the whole back-slapping thing with the big guy and a gentler hug for the woman.
“We didn’t make it last year. Betty had a nasty flu. Troy around? Our oldest just got his CDL. Wanted to pick his brain about where he should think about driving.”
The bottom of my stomach wobbled precariously. This was far worse than the people who’d been looking me over with thinly veiled curiosity. I waited to see how Curtis would handle it, but he was silent a long moment.
“Burt. You fucker.” The carver nearest to us spoke up. “Didn’t you hear? Troy passed on. Two years ago in January.”
“Oh, fuck. Man, I’m sorry. That’s rough.” Burt clapped Curtis on the shoulder. “Know you two went way back. You need anything? Wish we’d known. Betty and me would have come down. Been too long since we headed south.”
“Thanks.” Curtis nodded sharply. It occurred to me for the first time that I didn’t know exactly how out Curtis was with his carving community. Knowing him and his zero-fucks attitude, he’d simply brought Troy around and let people draw their own conclusions. The crowd was welcoming to newcomers, but definitely rough around the edges.
“And who’s this?” Betty motioned at me.
“This here’s Curtis’s new friend. Logan, right?” The other carver seemed happy enough to do Curtis’s talking for him.
“Yeah,” I said and shook their hands. “Pleased to meet you.”
“Whatcha carving today?” Burt inspected the large stump Curtis was working on. “Reckon we might be in the market for another of yours. Betty was wondering if you could do a monkey.”
“Monkey? Haven’t done one of those.” Curtis managed a weak smile for Betty. “But I’ll see what I get to later today. This is gonna be two bear cubs wrestling. And I better get back to it.”
With that, he put on his safety goggles and ear muffs and resumed attacking the piece with a new vengeance. I knew him well enough to see that he was channeling any discomfort over Burt and Betty’s questions into his creations.
“Man. Always such a kick to see Curtis work,” Betty shouted to me over the din of the chainsaw, leaning closer so I could hear her.
“Yup,” I agreed. “He’s something else.”
“Did you know Troy?” she asked.
“Nope.” I shook my head. “I’m new to the area.”
“Ah. Well, he was one of a kind. They don’t make them much better than him. Those are some mighty big boots you’re looking to fill.” Her smile was kind, but her eyes were knowing, like she’d already taken my measure and found me lacking.
“Just here to have fun,” I lied. And yeah, I knew that I wasn’t Troy. Wasn’t ever going to be Troy. But I didn’t need the reminder. And I really hadn’t needed to see the way Curtis’s face had fallen at the mention of Troy. He wasn’t over that hurt, probably never would be, and I was kidding myself if I thought this was anything other than a distraction for him.
And I hated myself a little for caring so much, for wanting people to see me, not the ghost of the man whose shoes I never could fill. No, scratch that. I couldn’t give a fuck about others. I wanted Curtis to see me, see what I had to offer. And because of that want, I knew I’d stick it out longer, even though I probably shouldn’t.
Want to know more? Be sure to check out TENDER WITH A TWIST for Curtis and Logan’s whole journey! Thanks so much for having me!
One kinky wood carver. One younger chef looking to try new things. A series of lessons that bring both men more than they bargained for…
Curtis Hunt has made a name for himself as a chainsaw wood carver, winning national competitions and operating a small business in Rainbow Cove, Oregon. As winter whittles away his tourist traffic, his goal is just to survive the season and try to not get lost in grief for his dead lover. It’s been two years, but he’s sure he’ll never be over the love of a lifetime. However, his body has a certain restlessness that he doesn’t quite know how to calm.
Logan Rosner knows a thing or two about restlessness. It’s what drove him to Rainbow Cove to be a chef at a bar and grill run by his friends. And it’s what drives him to a single sizzling encounter with the local legendary lumberjack. Both men get far more than they expected and learn that first impressions aren’t always accurate…
But when Logan proposes a series of sexy lessons, Curtis must decide how much he’s willing to risk. He knows he can’t afford to get attached to Logan’s good cooking, his easy smiles, or his caretaking, but he keeps going back for more, even as deeper emotions become involved. Soon, Curtis must decide whether to risk his heart again or risk losing Logan for good.
Tender with a Twist is a 75,000 word stand-alone gay romance with a May/December theme, featuring a second chance at love, opposites attract, loads of sexy times with mild BDSM elements, and one emotionally-charged, guaranteed happy ending with no cliffhangers.
Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.
Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two children.
- Website: http://www.annabethalbert.com/
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- Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6477494.Annabeth_Albert
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Annabeth has brought a $20 Amazon gift card to give away to one lucky reader on her tour. Just follow the Rafflecopter below to enter.
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