Today I am so pleased to welcome DJ Jamison to Joyfully Jay. DJ has come to share an exclusive excerpt from her release, Surprise Delivery. She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Casper walked down the hospital corridor on the way to the ground-level exit, grinning like a loon. He’d just come from the delivery room, where he’d brought Maria Ortiz’s baby girl into the world without a hitch. No matter how many babies he delivered, he felt incredibly blessed to see life start anew each and every time. His first two years as an obstetrician/gynecologist he’d even cried, but he’d gotten it down to just a bit of misty eyes thankfully.
A crying doctor tends to scare new mothers.
He spotted Eric Holtz down the hall. He was walking haphazardly, zig-zagging as he read something on his phone. It must not be good news because Eric was frowning and shaking his head.
Every damn thing about the guy was throwing negative vibes in the air. Casper was still buzzing with the thrill of new life, and he couldn’t let it stand.
“Burning the midnight oil, Doctor?”
Eric startled so badly he almost dropped his phone and clutched his chest. “Jesus!”
Casper laughed. “Oh man, that was too good. I wasn’t even trying to spook you.”
“Now, I know why the nurses call you Ghost,” Eric said dryly.
“Yeah, that’s it. Has nothing to do with my name.”
Eric visibly regained his starched administrator persona, tucking his phone into the pocket of his gray slacks. He’d exchanged the doctor’s jacket he often wore at the hospital for a charcoal sports coat thrown over a dark blue shirt, looking more businessman than health professional.
“Have a good delivery?” he asked, slipping back into his role of medical director.
Casper drew closer, clearing the hall for a nurse who walked like she was in a race. She didn’t spare them a glance, probably afraid one of them would ask her to do something.
“Beautiful baby girl,” he rattled off. “Six pounds, seven ounces. She’ll be a knockout.”
Eric chuckled. “You sound like a proud father.”
Casper shrugged. He knew his enthusiasm came off as naïveté to some of the older doctors, but he loved his job. “I am proud. Mom really struggled the last few weeks, but they both came through it like champs.”
“I can tell you love what you do.”
Casper grinned. “I really do. And soon I’ll be delivering your new baby.”
“Not my baby,” Eric objected. He nodded toward the vending machine. “Come on. I’ll buy you a Snickers to celebrate.”
“I’m more of a Skittles man, and you’re wrong.”
Casper watched Eric fish coins from his pocket, and found his gaze straying to his crotch as the material pulled taut. He forced his attention to Eric’s eyes, darker than his own and much more appealing, and attempted to get his mind back on track.
“You may not be the biological father—” and thank God for that — “but you’re raising this child. That is what Olivia said during the appointment, right?”
“We’re still working out the details,” he said. “But I told her I’d help however I can, and if that means helping her raise a child, so be it.”
Eric punched in the code for a package of Skittles and bent over to scoop it from the bottom of the machine. Casper’s gaze naturally scoped out his ass because otherwise it would be a wasted opportunity, and Casper was a waste not, want not kind of guy.
“Don’t sound so excited about it.”
“Oh, it’s not that,” Eric said as he handed over the sugary treat. “It’s been a long day with too much red tape. Sometimes I really hate being an administrator.”
He did look exhausted. Casper had playfully accused him of burning the midnight oil, but in truth it wasn’t that late. Still, 9 p.m. was well past office hours.
Casper nudged him toward a chair and held out a handful of candies. “My mother always taught me to share.”
Eric smiled weakly. “Thanks.”
“Dr. Holtz …”
“Call me Eric.”
Casper dipped his head in acknowledgement. “Eric, I’m pretty sure Baby Isaacson won’t care about red tape when he needs his ba-ba, if you get what I’m saying.”
Eric snorted. “And here I thought babies loved bureaucracy.”
“Babies love parents who are home,” Casper said, not letting Eric dodge the point. “These hours you work …”
“I know,” Eric said with a groan. “I thought about hiring a nanny, but that’s a cop-out, isn’t it?”
Casper shrugged. “That’s not for me to say.”
“Tell me what you think anyway.”
“I think babies need love, unconditional love, not the kind based on a paycheck. And who better to provide that than Uncle Eric?” he said with a grin.
“Unconditional love is a myth,” Eric said bluntly.
Casper tossed a candy in his mouth and rolled it on his tongue, letting the tartness zing his taste buds. “Maybe so. But isn’t it better to find that out later in life, if at all?”
“I guess so.”
“Besides, once you hold that baby for the first time, you’re gonna fall in love. I’ve seen it a million times. You’ll want to be there for your new family. All this,” Casper waved a hand, “will just seem like administrative hell.”
“It’s already hell,” Eric muttered.
That gave Casper the perfect opening to change the subject. “Let me ask you a question now. Do you do anything besides work?”
Casper grinned and jumped up, buzzing with the need to release some of the adrenaline he’d built up. He felt like being reckless.
“Like skinny dipping in my neighbor’s pool at night?” he suggested, waggling his eyebrows. Suddenly, he wanted Eric to go there with him. To be impulsive, even if it was a bad idea.
Casper laughed in the face of Eric’s surprise. “You need to learn to live a little. Pretty soon, you’ll have a baby calling you home. Might as well break out of that workaholic cycle now. You can have some fun while you’re at it.”
“Well, tonight I’ve got my bed calling my name.”
Casper pushed down his disappointment. Eric looked wiped out, so he knew it wasn’t a lie. What he didn’t know was if Eric’s answer would be any different if he wasn’t worn out after a long day at work.
“I’m taking a raincheck,” he teased. “I’ll convince you to get naked in a pool yet.”
Eric’s eyes widened, and Casper choked on an embarrassed laugh. He was usually so much smoother. Of course, he was usually hooking up with men through an app — no flirting required — or women at a nightclub, entirely too much flirting required. But hitting on a hospital administrator? Yeah, he’d never done that, and he wasn’t sure what had gotten into him that he was doing it now.
Other than an urge to be impulsive and throw caution to the wind. Something about Eric’s reserve made Casper tilt in the opposite direction.
“That came out wrong,” he said, though it’d represented his desires perfectly.
“I’m sure.” Eric patted his stomach. “Not as young as I used to be.”
Casper rolled his eyes. “Not so old either.”
Dr. Casper Rollins knows how to have fun. The love of his life, Kage Myers, lived every moment to the fullest before he died. Now, Casper goes skydiving, mountain-climbing or on other adrenaline-soaked adventures when he wants to feel closer to his lost love.
Medical director Eric Holtz is married to his work — so much so his husband left him. But when his niece shows up, pregnant and in need of an ally, Eric suddenly has family again. Unfortunately, her obstetrician, Casper Rollins, is sexy enough to turn Eric into a blushing adolescent.
What begins as a game to break Eric of his workaholic tendencies escalates into scorching sex and feelings that can’t be ignored. Casper never planned to give his heart to anyone other than Kage, and Eric won’t accept anything less.
If these two want a future, they’ll have to embrace the lesson Kage taught Casper long ago: You only live once.
Surprise Delivery is Book 5 in the Hearts and Health series, but it can be read as a standalone.
DJ Jamison is the author of more than a dozen m/m romances, including the Ashe Sentinel series and the Hearts and Health series. She writes a variety of queer characters, from gay to bisexual to asexual, with a focus on telling love stories that are more about common ground than lust at first sight. DJ grew up in the Midwest in a working-class family, and those influences can be found in her writing through characters coping with real-life problems: money troubles, workplace drama, family conflicts and, of course, falling in love. DJ spent more than a decade in the newspaper industry before chasing her first dream to write fiction. She spent a lifetime reading before that, and continues to avidly devour her fellow authors’ books each night. She lives in Kansas with her husband, two sons, two fish and, regrettably, one snake.
This is an exclusive giveaway for Joyfully Jay! One of the themes in Surprise Delivery is about learning to live life to the fullest. To enter for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card, post an answer to this question: What’s the most scary/exciting thing you’ve ever done? The contest closes on Tuesday, March 27th at 11:59 pm ET.
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