Today I am so pleased to welcome DJ Jamison to Joyfully Jay. DJ has come to talk to us about her latest release, Operation Makeover. She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
I’m excited to be here celebrating my new release, Operation Makeover. This book was my escape from reality — stressful, and sometimes downright ugly lately — to something lighter. The book has a lot of fun, fluffy stuff like sexy dressing room scenes, drunken texting, and cute boys flirting. But it also digs a little deeper into the kinds of insecurities we all have. My two main characters haven’t met anyone who loved them for who they really are. Until now ….
I’ve brought an excerpt and giveaway to share. Enjoy!
They made their way to the dressing room counter, and Ridley had laid his burden down over the counter, to be counted by the sales clerk, when a man and woman arguing over a purchase drew Cole’s attention.
Shit. It was his ex, Travis.
Cole quickly shifted back toward Ridley, smiling brightly. “These are going to look great on you.”
“I hope so,” Ridley said as Travis’s wife stormed past, muttering under her breath.
Cole felt his smile falter and strained to hold it.
“Are you okay?” Ridley asked.
“Cole?” Travis said. “Are you following me?”
Cole spun on his heel to face Travis. “Are you kidding? Of course I’m not following you. Why would I?”
“I know you took our breakup hard,” he said gruffly, his gaze flitting to Ridley. “But it’s over. And frankly, you could do better than trotting out thisaverage guy to try to make me jealous.” His eyes scanned over Ridley and he scoffed. “It’s not even believable, you and him.”
“What theactual fuck?” Cole spluttered, shocked at Travis’s blatant rudeness. Before he could formulate a reply telling Travis all the ways he was wrong and could go fuck himself, Ridley spoke up.
“I’m not his boyfriend, so I guess you’re right,” he told Travis. Then turning to Cole, he added, “I’m going to head back to try some of these things on.”
His heart sank as he watched Ridley walk away, his shoulders tight with tension.
“Cole,” Travis said again, trying to get his attention.
“Fuck off,” he muttered, swallowing down the tirade he wanted to spew. It was more important to make sure Ridley was okay. He didn’t give Travis another look as he hurried through the entrance to the dressing rooms. There were only two individual rooms, and only one was occupied. He walked up to the door and tapped it. “Ridley? I’m sorry.”
“It’s fine,” Ridley said.
“It’s really not,” Cole said.
There was rustling as Ridley presumably stripped his clothes and began trying on the jeans and shirts Cole had picked out for him.
“Look, I already know I’m not the type of guy you date,” Ridley said. “He didn’t say anything that wasn’t true. I’m average, and you’re not.”
“That’s bullshit,” Cole said. “You’re not average.”
“Sure, I am. That’s why we’re here, right?” Ridley said, his voice muffled briefly by fabric.
No. No, that’s not why they were there. Ridley might not be the kind of guy Cole had ever dated, but he kind of wished he could be. Somehow he couldn’t picture Ridley ever treating someone as horribly as Travis just did. It was kind of difficult to picture Ridley ever being the kind of asshole most of Cole’s exes had been.
“It’s okay, Cole,” Ridley repeated, and that was just one assurance too far.
Luckily, it was the type of dressing room that didn’t lock. Cole pulled open the door and slipped inside as Ridley spluttered something unintelligible. He stood in jeans and an open button-down, his chest and stomach exposed, and Cole thought he looked incredibly sexy.
Circling behind him, Cole grabbed Ridley’s shoulders and turned him toward the mirror. “Look at yourself, Ridley. Really look.”
“I’m not dressed yet,” he said. “Isn’t the point to see how the clothes fit?”
“Just look,” Cole ordered, looking over Ridley’s shoulder at the reflection in the mirror.
Ridley, his chest and stomach layered with dark hair trailing down to his waistband and his nipples red and starting to harden from the chill, was enough to make Cole’s mouth water. If Ridley was anyone else, he’d be on his knees offering to blow him right there in the dressing room. But Ridley was in love with his best friend, and Cole ordered his libido to stand down. He had a point to make, and sucking dick wasn’t on the agenda.
“Okay, I’m looking,” Ridley said. “So?”
“So, don’t you see how sexy you are right now?” Cole asked, speaking close to his ear.
Ridley rolled his eyes and started to turn, but Cole clamped down on his shoulders, pressing against Ridley’s back to keep him in place.
“Seriously,” he said, tightening his hands on Ridley’s shoulders for emphasis. “You’re a good-looking guy. I’d date you.”
Red flushed Ridley’s chest and neck, steadily climbing up into his face. “Sure you would. Thanks for the pep talk, Cole.”
“I would,” Cole murmured. He dropped his hands, bringing them around Ridley’s waist to grasp the edges of his unbuttoned shirt. He pulled it open a bit more, exposing more of Ridley’s body. “You can’t tell me that if you met a guy with a chest like that, you’d be turned off? I mean, just look, objectively, at your body.”
Ridley blew out a breath. “I don’t think I can look at myself objectively,” he admitted. “I just see the scrawny geek I’ve always been.”
“Then you’ll have to trust me,” Cole said. “You’re sexy.”
Giving in to the urge to touch Ridley, he dropped the edges of his shirt and slid his palms over warm skin and soft, downy hair. “My hands look good on you too,” he said, lust beginning to override his good sense as he watched himself touch Ridley in the mirror.
Ridley’s breath caught, and he pulled away. “Point made,” he said thickly, his body once again full of tension.
“I’m sorry,” Cole said. “That was … I shouldn’t have touched you without asking.”
Ridley avoided his gaze, buttoning his shirt. “It’s fine.”
“It’s not fine. Stop saying everything is fine!”
Cole’s sharp voice surprised Ridley, and his head snapped up. He was fully dressed now, and the shirt looked great, molding over his shoulders and arms, a tighter fit than most of the clothing he already owned.
“Cole,” Ridley said tentatively. “I only say it because it’s true. Okay? I’m not angry. Not about your douche of an ex-boyfriend, and not about you flattering me. But I can’t let you touch me like that because, you know, my body likes it too much, and we’re just friends, so … um. Yeah. I admit it. You’re gorgeous and sexy, and I’m not impervious to it.”
There was a lot to unpack in that statement. He didn’t know how to address Ridley’s admission he found Cole attractive — something he’d guessed anyway. Not that it mattered with Jace in the wings, an object of Ridley’s longtime affection. So, instead, he focused on the matter at hand.
“My exes are all assholes,” he said shortly. “But that outfit looks great, if I say so myself.”
Will a makeover bring his fantasy to life or lead him to a love he never saw coming?
As a professional X-ray tech, Ridley has come a long way from the geeky kid Jace took under his wing in high school. Not that his best friend has noticed. Tired of pining, Ridley decides to show Jace what he’s missing. And what better way than with a newer, more sophisticated look?
Cole’s clients at the salon where he works love him dearly. Men? Not so much. He has dated one mistake after the next, and he’s beginning to wonder if a guy exists who can handle his fabulousness. Then Ridley lands in his chair.
Cole agrees to be Ridley’s makeover guru, and they click effortlessly. But when Cole offers to help Ridley with his sexual confidence, passion flares and boundaries blur.
Ridley’s had his heart set on Jace a long time, but when he’s with Cole it feels too real to deny. Now he has a choice to make: the friend he’s always wanted or the man who’s given him a whole new lease on life.
Operation Makeover is part of the Hearts and Health series, but 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, one snake, and a sadistic cat named Birdie.
DJ has brought a winner’s choice from Books 1-6 in the Hearts and Health series to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Sunday, November 4th at 11:59 pm ET.
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