Today I am so pleased to welcome Charley Descoteaux to Joyfully Jay. Charley has come to share an exclusive cover reveal for her upcoming release, Always Forward! Never Straight. She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Hello all & Happy Holidays! I’m thrilled to be back at Joyfully Jay to reveal the cover of my next MM Romance! The new book isn’t a holiday story—in fact, it takes place in late spring and summer—so I hope you’ll enjoy this short break from the cold (or the humidity, depending on where you live). Stick around after the excerpt for a chance to win an ebook copy of one of my indie titles.
You’ve heard this before, but it’s always difficult to decide what I want on a cover. It’s extra tricky when it’s a self-published title, because I don’t have the muscle (or the insight) of a publisher to back me up. That said, this cover was pretty easy. First, I hired a great designer, and then I got out of her way.
Okay, it wasn’t quite that easy. She’s not a mind reader so I did have to tell her about the men who get their HEA, and stumble through describing a few concepts that might represent the story well. And I have to say I’m in awe of all the amazing cover artists in Romancelandia, the skill and talent they have to make cover after cover and make each one gorgeous!
But back to my cover. The two heroes are both in their mid-40s and Bryan basically sits all day and doesn’t work out for fun so he looks like a normal mid-40s guy. But Cay, his love interest, is an avid runner. Maybe it’s not surprising that we ended up with Cay on the cover! It’s a challenge to find models for book covers who are over 30 and the ones that are out there are all fit and muscly. (Not that I’m complaining!) Luckily, Cay is also fit and muscly, so we found a model who works for him—I hope you agree!
Since the cover is all about the love interest I’m going to stick with that theme and share an excerpt. This is from the beginning of Chapter Two, the morning after the half-marathon when the two men meet for the first time.
Comment and tell us about your favorite “morning after” breakfast or a show you’ve re-watched and enjoyed as much or more than the first time. Two winners will receive their choice of any ebook from my self-published backlist (under either of my pen names—any book except Always Forward! Never Straight!
I stopped the Buick in front of Val’s place—too early, could easily have slept another half-dozen hours—and stared through the dirty windshield. Not to look at the flowering plum trees lining the street or to check on whether Mac was on her way out of the building. Nope. I was reliving last night.
The more I thought about it—about him, Bryan—the harder it got to pretend I wasn’t sitting in my truck getting all worked up like some horny teenager. Before I could relax against the headrest, though, a horrible thought sat me up straight.
Whoa. Now that I have a fifteen-year-old daughter it’s probably not a great idea to think about what teenaged guys are like.
But that thought wasn’t what was making my heart race.
Okay, maybe a little.
Bryan, though…so sweetly awkward. And cute. And funny. My eyes started to fall closed, picturing his warm brown eyes and the way sunlight lit his hair with red highlights.
Nope. Stand up and go get Mac.
I checked the road and pushed the door open. It’s not often I stay up past midnight with a hottie after running a half marathon. Probably would have fallen asleep if I stayed in there with my eyes closed too long. A groan forced its way out at the thought of what Mac and Val would say if they caught me like that—I’d never live it down. At least they didn’t have one of those drones I help my boss sell, the glorified remote-control toys that fly around taking pictures of anything that moves. Then I’d be in real trouble.
The front door to their apartment stood open a crack, inviting me in. I closed it behind me and was about to call out for Mac when her mother appeared in the kitchen doorway.
“She’s in the shower.” Valerie offered her cheek, and I pecked it automatically.
My standard greeting felt a little different that morning, after having wrapped my lips around Bryan’s cock the night before. “Late night?”
“Yeah. We rewatched Sense8 after the party.”
“Season one or season two?”
“Why does that make you blush?” She leaned over the narrow bar separating the kitchen from the living room, spatula in hand, and her expression said she was trying to read my mind. “You look tired. Don’t tell me you went home with that guy from the race?”
“I didn’t go home with the guy from the race. Got any coffee?”
She snorted. “Got any coffee. Where do you think you are? Of course I got coffee.”
“She can’t hear. I don’t have to be a role model when she’s not even in the room, do I?” I got a mug from the cupboard and hoped she wouldn’t answer that.
“No. And it’s a good thing. I don’t want her to model her dating after yours.” She grinned and elbowed me and turned back to the eggs.
“God. Me either.”
“Ha! So you did go home with him.”
“I said I didn’t.” I prettied-up my coffee with extra milk and some cinnamon sugar from the shaker Val kept stocked for cinnamon toast. Val’s kitchen always intrigued me—she could just as easily have been making Japanese pancakes or something with seaweed as traditional American breakfast food. Despite knowing her since high school, she still surprised me once in a while.
Val turned off the stove and moved the eggs off the heat, tossed some grated cheese on top, and froze.
“Oh. My. God. You took him to your place.”
My swallow of coffee didn’t go down smoothly, but at least I didn’t choke. I chose not to answer and took a seat at the little round table set with three plates.
“Really? You couldn’t have blown each other in the men’s room and called it a night?”
“Val, that’s gross.”
“Like you haven’t done that before.”
“I didn’t say doing it was gross. You talking about it is gross.” I grinned as much as I was able, which wasn’t half bad, and sipped more carefully so the coffee would go down the correct pipe.
Love isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.
Baxter Bryan is the nerdy half of BaxCo, a start-up in Portland’s Silicon Forest creating cutting-edge high-tech toys. He’s also a hermit. When BaxCo sponsors the Portland Rock and Roll Half Marathon, Bryan decides to break out of his comfort zone and do more than listen to the music with a beer in hand. The race has barely started when he bumps into a fit, handsome man, causing sparks to fly. But the long hours needed to make BaxCo a success aren’t the only reason Bryan spends most of his time alone in his apartment.
Cay Nissen runs every day to stay in shape. He would love to run away from his job in a Silicon Forest cube farm, but keeps returning to support his teenaged daughter. His true love is music. Cay writes songs for the band he helped form in high school but doesn’t see any way to turn music into a career. The half marathon seemed like a decent way to pass a Saturday, make his boss happy, and catch a performance of his old band all at the same time. When he meets a man who sparks his interest, the safety of his cubicle isn’t the only part of his life that’s in jeopardy of changing.
Charley Descoteaux is the author of the Buchanan House Love Stories. Book One was a USA Today Must-Read Romance.
Charley has always heard voices. She was relieved to learn they were fictional characters, and started writing when they insisted daydreaming just wasn’t good enough. In exchange, they’ve agreed to let her sleep once in a while. Charley has survived earthquakes, tornadoes, and floods, but couldn’t make it through a single day without stories.
Charley has brought an ebook of their choice from her self-published backlist, under either pen name: Charley Descoteaux or Charli Coty, for two lucky winners. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Monday, December 31st at 11:59 pm ET.
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