Today I am so pleased to welcome Felice Stevens to Joyfully Jay. Felice has come to talk to us about her latest release, His Uptown Guy (The Landmarks Series). Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Gnawing on the bone, Dash nodded. “Yeah. I haven’t been to the new stadium yet. Too pricey for my blood. But when I was a kid and we’d go? Always had to have a hot dog. Lots of mustard, sauerkraut, and onion. Mmmm.” He closed his eyes for a moment, remembering. “Nothing like a dog and a beer at the Stadium.”
Staring at the TV, Jesse’s eyes had a faraway look. “Yeah. I haven’t been to the new stadium either. Maybe one day…” His voice petered off, and he looked so damn forlorn that without thinking, Dash put his hand on Jesse’s shoulder and gave it a squeeze.
“Maybe we’ll go together. Catch a game.”
Those big sad eyes of Jesse’s brightened. “Yeah. Maybe.”
Loud cheering began as the Yankees took the field, and Jesse took the remote to turn up the volume. “Here we go.”
There was something endearing about Jesse’s excitement, and Dash found himself getting more into the game than if he were at a bar with his friends. Jesse knew each player’s stats, and they both agreed that Girardi should’ve been out years earlier.
Jesse waved a wing in the air. “I’m glad you get it. I mean, I know they wanted to give Girardi a chance, but if George Steinbrenner were still alive, he would’ve been gone.”
“Oh, hell yeah. I heard stories about the fights that used to go on.”
The first two innings went by quickly, and they’d soon depleted the wings. At the commercial, Jesse picked up the almost empty platter. “How about I get some sliders and the hot dogs going?”
Well into his second beer, Dash leaned back on the sofa. “Yeah. This is the life, ya know? Hanging out, watching the game. Good food, good company. Makes everything else you got going on fade away for a little while.”
“I’m a good listener, if you need to talk about anything.”
“I wouldn’t want to bore you.” He tucked his feet up under him. “You know how it goes. I’m working this job, going to school at night online. Helping out my mom when I can.”
“You’ve got a lot on your shoulders.” He set the platter back on the table in front of them. “You want to be an accountant, right?”
“I want to be a CPA. But the exam is a killer. It’s gonna take me some time, but it’s all I ever wanted to do. I love working with numbers and seeing everything add up. I was always like that as a kid. I don’t like when things are out of balance or messy.”
He noticed how close he and Jesse were sitting. Close enough to hear Jesse breathe and see the flare of desire spark in his eyes. Maybe if he hadn’t had the two beers in quick succession, Dash wouldn’t have felt so reckless. Instead, he reached over and dragged the pad of his thumb over a spot of sauce clinging to Jesse’s bottom lip.
Jesse froze, his breath hitting Dash’s finger.
“You have some hot sauce…right there.” Taking a risk, Dash slid the palm of his hand to cup Jesse’s cheek. “It looked messy.” He ached to taste Jesse and had dreams about what those full lips would taste like. “Jesse,” he breathed. “Can I kiss you?”
Wide-eyed and trembling, Jesse nodded, and Dash leaned forward. Sensing Jesse’s skittishness, Dash didn’t grab him and mash their lips together, but instead feathered light, whispery kisses along Jesse’s mouth, licking the fullness of his lips. Jesse’s raspy breath stuttered against his cheek, but he didn’t pull away.
This wasn’t a quick hookup at a club with a guy he’d never see again. This was sweet Jesse, whom Dash had been thinking about since the day they’d met and liked more than he cared to admit. Dash wanted more of him, his soft mouth, his silky tongue. His gasping, needy sounds.
“Mmm.” He shifted closer, the blood rushing hotter through his veins as his cock thickened. “You taste so good. Better than I imagined.”
To Dash’s surprise, Jesse slid his arms around Dash’s neck. Warmed by his response, Dash grew bolder and covered Jesse’s mouth with his. Jesse tasted of the spicy wing sauce, and Dash couldn’t help but suck that full, pouty lower lip into his mouth.
“Ohhhh.” Jesse sighed, sliding his hand up to clutch at Dash’s hair.
Their kisses grew more fervent, and Dash pressed his tongue against the seam of Jesse’s lips, demanding entrance. With a whimper, Jesse opened to him, and Dash slipped inside, finally tasting the velvety sweetness of his tongue. Jesse’s hands gripped his shoulders, straining toward him.
Heat built within Dash as their mouths and lips pressed together, and a shiver ran through him as his hands caressed the soft skin of Jesse’s neck. Dash trembled and he stopped, flustered by his uncertainty while his body pulsed with hungry desire. Jesse’s eyes glowed, their gaze unfocused and dreamy. Red patches stained his cheeks, a slight smile rested on his lips, and he looked adorably and completely unsettled.
I’m sorry. That shouldn’t have happened.” Dash ran a slightly shaky hand through his hair, hoping his heart would stop thumping in his ears. The ache reached through him, and he wanted to gather Jesse in his arms again and kiss him until they both couldn’t see straight.
“Oh…” Jesse said, pulling away from Dash. “Why not?”
Surprised, Dash rubbed the back of his neck. “Well, I didn’t want you to think I came here only for sex. I can get that anywhere.”
“I’m sure you could.” Jesse’s lips twitched, but then his smile faltered. “I’m not sorry. It was a wonderful kiss.”
Dash could’ve smacked himself in the face. “I’m saying this all wrong.…I knew I would. The kiss was great, but I didn’t want you to think I came here only to jump your bones. I like you, I think you’re cool to hang out with, and I’d like us to be friends.”
Darkness shadowed Jesse’s face. “I’d like that too. But before you say that, I think there are some things you need to know.”
When Jesse Grace-Martin loses his father on 9/11, his charmed life is gone forever. People look menacing, and the streets no longer seem safe. After experiencing a brutal mugging, Jesse retreats to his apartment in the landmark Dakota building. Five years later, his first attempt to walk outside those famous gates again is a disaster—except for meeting the gorgeous maintenance worker who helps him through his crushing panic attack. Jesse can’t stop thinking about the guy but hesitates to reach out, knowing he has little to offer.
Dashamir Sadiko has big dreams. Money in the bank tops his list, and his peek into the life of the uber-wealthy at his job at the Dakota is all the incentive he needs. Struggling to work full-time and go to college, Dash desperately wants to break the cycle of poverty his parents had hoped to leave behind in Albania. When the two men become friends, Dash isn’t sure what to expect but can’t help his growing attraction to sweet and sexy Jesse. It’s nice to see how the other side lives, but his affections can’t be bought; Dash wants to be his own man.
Defying the Dakota’s co-op rules, the two share lunches, their hopes and dreams, and ultimately their hearts. Jesse slowly regains his courage, but he’s worried he’ll never be the person he once was and that he’s not good enough for Dash. And Dash isn’t convinced the son of poor immigrants’ has a place at the table with a blue-blood, trust-fund man. Jesse needs to realize that money can’t buy happiness and love, while Dash must learn to trust that what they have is real, that he’s more than Jesse’s walk on the wild side with an uptown guy.-
Felice Stevens has always been a romantic at heart. She believes that while life is tough, there is always a happy ending around the corner, Her characters have to work for it, however. Like life in NYC, nothing comes easy and that includes love.
Felice has written over twenty books in the gay romance genre. Her books been translated into German, French and Italian. Her novel. One Call Away, part of her Soulmates series, was mentioned in Buzzfeed as one of the best “Out for You” gay romances of 2017.
Felice lives in New York City with her husband and two children. Her day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass or two of red wine. She recently retired from the practice law and now daydreams of a time when she can sit by a beach somewhere and write beautiful stories of men falling in love. Although there are bound to be a few bumps along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.