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  • Guest Post: Rainbow Readers Cruise Blog Tour with Rick R. Reed

Today I am so pleased to welcome Rick R. Reed to Joyfully Jay. Rick has come as part of the Rainbow Readers Cruise Blog Tour to talk to us about his books Husband Hunters and Beautiful Monster. He has also brought along some exclusive excerpts. Please join me in giving Rick a big welcome!

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What’s New

Thanks to Jay for giving me this space to introduce myself and mention the new and exciting stuff I’ve just released and have coming up.

First off, there’s the audiobook for my reality-TV, friends-to-lovers romantic comedy, narrated by Wesley Landry, HUSBAND HUNTERS.

You never know where the love of your life might turn up.

When Matt Connelly suggests to his best buddy Cody Mook that they head to downtown Seattle to audition for the gay reality TV show Husband Hunters, both agree the experience might be a lark and a chance to grab their fifteen minutes of fame.

What they don’t know is that the show, modeled after HGTV’s House Hunters, will open doors of longing neither expected. For Matt, the secret love he has long harbored for Cody might be thrust into the spotlight. Cody might realize his search for his perfect-forever-man extends no farther than the man who’s always been at his side.

Husband Hunters promises laughter, tears, and, just maybe, a happy ever after. Will Cody and Matt’s story be one of best-friends-to-lovers — or an outright disaster?

BUY: https://www.amazon.com/Audible-Husband-Hunters/dp/B0CXBT592X

And then I have a new book, a dark thriller with a hint of romance, coming out from JMS Books March 31, BEAUTIFUL MONSTER.

Hank Donner-Varian yearns for something beyond his perfect, but routine marriage. Forbidden fantasy beckons until a chance encounter with the enigmatic and devastatingly sexy Abbott Lowery turns curiosity into a dangerous obsession.

Hank’s unaware of the sinister depths beneath Lowery’s facade. When Hank’s flirtation spirals into nightmare, he’s thrust into a world of horror orchestrated by a man who once embodied his deepest desires.

In a heart-pounding race against time, Beautiful Monster immerses readers in a gripping tale of passion, deception, and survival. Can Hank navigate the treacherous maze of obsession and deceit before it’s too late? Or will the irresistible stranger prove to be Hank’s downfall, plunging him into a nightmare from which escape is impossible?

(Order info not yet available, but soon)

I’m also working on a new book, a ghost story about a man starting his life over and trying not to fall in love with his new next door neighbor, but getting a nudge from the ghost haunting his home. Title is yet undecided.

rainbow readers cruise logoThe Rainbow Readers Cruise celebrates the readers and creators of LGBTQ+ fiction and romance. The cruise departs from the Port of Fort Lauderdale on August 19, 2024 and returns August 23, 2024, with stops at Key West and Coco Cay (Celebrity’s private island). Along the way, meet and mingle with some of your favorite LGBTQ+ fiction and romance authors and creators, as well as attend panels, meet and greets, small group social activities, and the Signing at Sea. Plus, the cruise itself, with fabulous destinations, food and drinks, entertainment, and more. You can find all the details about the Rainbow Readers Cruise on our website: https://rainbowreaderscruise.com.

 


Excerpts

HUSBAND HUNTERS

There was a sign in the lobby of the Westin, directing aspiring Husband Hunters TV hopefuls upstairs to the Elliott Bay ballroom, where auditions were being held.

Cody clutched his friend’s arm. “This is real.” Cody’s heart beat a little faster. “Let’s just go get a Bloody Mary up on the Hill instead. Come on, we’ll make fools of ourselves if we stay here.” Cody tugged Matt toward the revolving doors through which they had just arrived.

Matt jerked his arm away. “Mattie is with you. Don’t be scared.” And he walked away from Cody, toward the escalator. This left Cody a choice — to dash out the door and leave his friend behind or to follow. He chose the latter, in spite of the powerful beat of a whole army of butterflies that had spontaneously taken flight in his gut.

The ballroom was a hive of activity. Cody was surprised to see there were men of all different sizes, shapes, and colors milling about the room, each of them holding a piece of paper similar to what runners wear at a race. Each piece of paper bore a large red number.

Cody was stunned that there were older men (some looking septuagenarian), heavyset guys, even men in wheelchairs. He mentally chastised himself, wondering why, if he had imagined this scene at all, he had visualized a room full of gorgeous, young, muscular hunks — like a casting call for underwear models. Wishful thinking, maybe? Still, he felt a burn of shame for being surprised at the variety of men present. No matter what we look like or what life saddles us with, we all want to be loved, right? That guy in the wheelchair over there who bore an uneasy resemblance to scientific genius Stephen Hawking? He probably had the same hopes and dreams Cody did when it came to finding someone special. And, as he knew from his own experience, there were people out there for everyone here, regardless of how he perceived their attractiveness.

That wasn’t to say, though, that there were not a lot of very attractive guys here, by anyone’s standards. There were. And these came in every conceivable hair color, height, age, and ethnicity.

The prospect of all these gorgeous men was daunting. Cody clutched Matt’s arm. “Do you see how many of these guys here are model-worthy? We don’t stand a chance!” Cody whispered desperately.

Matt snatched his arm back. “Number one, don’t get a big head, but you are just as hunky as any guy here — and I’m not just saying that because you’re my pal. Number two, you haven’t watched the show. It’s not a runway. It’s not about the best-looking guy hooking up with some mirror image. Sure, there are lots of good-looking guys on the show, probably more than occur percentagewise in real life, but that’s just TV. But there are also lots of regular guys, like me. We need love too. And husbands! And the show reflects that. And three, and most important, I will tell you once again, false modesty is never cute. If I had half your good looks, I’d be contented.”

Matt stared at him, and Cody felt uncomfortable because the frank admiration in his friend’s eyes let Cody know he was being truthful. And that did not make him feel good; it made him kind of sad.

Matt had a lot to offer. In his own way, he was very sexy and had the advantage of probably getting more so as he aged, rather than the opposite, which was the case with most people.

“Let’s just get in line,” Matt said out of the corner of his mouth as a tall African American guy stepped in front of them to check in at the table set up at the ballroom’s entrance. He looked a bit like Jesse Williams of Grey’s Anatomy. He had the same warm skin tones and amazing eyes.

 

BEAUTIFUL MONSTER

When he got to the corner of Ohio and Michigan, he spied him. Just a quick glimpse, but enough to let him know that he needed to follow, even if it was into a discount store he’d never frequent on his own. But a glimpse was enough to know that this was the one—one he could file away in his mental fantasy file, for later. And, he knew the odds were good, that this guy, with his raven black hair and blue eyes, would find Hank desirable. See, the more beautiful the man, the more worthy Hank felt by his attention.

Nothing would ever come of it, right? Hank was window shopping, browsing.

And this one, even in the briefest of glances, was a true stunner.

Hank maneuvered through the revolving doors into Nordstrom at the Michigan Avenue entrance and took the elevator up to the men’s department, following the guy. Hank drank him in: the blue-black hair, the broad shoulders and chest, tapering down to a small, firm waist. Tall. Strong. Hank could already see him naked; the lean stomach, rippling; cobblestones beneath taut flesh. The pecs, dusted with curly black hair. All that definition accentuated by a light sheen of sweat.

Sweat that, in another life, a freer life, Hank would bring out.

* * *

Jesus. Abbott put down the white cable-knit sweater (he’d been thinking how cozy and warm it’d be for the coming winter). Not five minutes and already the whores are starting in. He tried not to meet this new one’s eyes, to pretend he wasn’t there, but the guy’s gaze was relentless, almost burning into his back. Abbott looked back at him, quick—a scowl.

Dude, have you no shame?

Abbott hoped his frown was enough to send the pervert scurrying away. Rummaging through the pile of sweaters on the table, he waited to feel the absence of his stare—and was disappointed. It was as though Abbott had somehow encouraged him; almost as if he could feel the creep’s breath on him. It made him furious. The blood pounded a beat at his temples, the pain ratcheting up a notch.

Why couldn’t he simply leave Abbott alone?

* * *

Hank took a breath and approached him. I’m just going to ask for his opinion, that’s all. At least that’s what he told himself by way of rationalization.

“I’m looking for a sweater to buy my brother for his birthday.” He rummaged arbitrarily through the stacks and pulled out a gray V-neck. “What do you think of this?” He held up the sweater and tried to engage his eyes. Such blue eyes. Like a summer sky…

But the object of his desire refused to return Hank’s gaze, even though the green of his own eyes had never failed. Ah…playing hard to get. It doesn’t matter, anyway. I’m just playing. Relieving a boring Monday morning…

“I don’t know. Costs more than I can afford.” He glanced over to the aisle, where a female sales clerk stood. “Why don’t you ask one of the salespeople? That’s what they’re here for.”

Hank leaned closer. “What would they know? They’re just here to move the merchandise. I need an honest opinion.” Hank paused. “From a man who obviously knows a thing or two about looking good.”

“I don’t think I can help you.”

Hank watched as the hunk strode away. He took in the guy’s ass, encased in worn Levi’s, and thought he’d be damned if he’d be ignored.

“Wait!” Hank caught up with him, placing a hand on his arm, squeezing the bicep beneath the black cotton T-shirt. “Is that how you take a compliment?”

“What?” That surly expression again. Didn’t he realize how alluring it looked? “A man should know how to take a compliment a little more gracefully.” Hank winked. “One never knows which one will be the last.”

“Listen, I’ve got an appointment in about fifteen minutes. I gotta buy these jeans and get outta here.” He sneered. “Thanks so much for the kind word.” The last remark was so heavily loaded with sarcasm that Frank took a step back.

The guy turned his back and headed for the cash registers.


Blurbs

Hank Donner-Varian yearns for something beyond his perfect, but routine marriage. Forbidden fantasy beckons until a chance encounter with the enigmatic and devastatingly sexy Abbott Lowery turns curiosity into a dangerous obsession.

Hank’s unaware of the sinister depths beneath Lowery’s facade. When Hank’s flirtation spirals into nightmare, he’s thrust into a world of horror orchestrated by a man who once embodied his deepest desires.

In a heart-pounding race against time, Beautiful Monster immerses readers in a gripping tale of passion, deception, and survival. Can Hank navigate the treacherous maze of obsession and deceit before it’s too late? Or will the irresistible stranger prove to be Hank’s downfall, plunging him into a nightmare from which escape is impossible?

(Order info not yet available, but soon)

 

You never know where the love of your life might turn up.

When Matt Connelly suggests to his best buddy Cody Mook that they head to downtown Seattle to audition for the gay reality TV show Husband Hunters, both agree the experience might be a lark and a chance to grab their fifteen minutes of fame.

What they don’t know is that the show, modeled after HGTV’s House Hunters, will open doors of longing neither expected. For Matt, the secret love he has long harbored for Cody might be thrust into the spotlight. Cody might realize his search for his perfect-forever-man extends no farther than the man who’s always been at his side.

Husband Hunters promises laughter, tears, and, just maybe, a happy ever after. Will Cody and Matt’s story be one of best-friends-to-lovers — or an outright disaster?

BUY: https://www.amazon.com/Audible-Husband-Hunters/dp/B0CXBT592X


Bio

Rick R. Reed is an award-winning and bestselling author of more than fifty works of published fiction. He is a Lambda Literary Award finalist. Entertainment Weekly has described his work as “heartrending and sensitive.” Lambda Literary has called him: “A writer that doesn’t disappoint…” Find him at www.rickrreedreality.blogspot.com. Rick lives in Palm Springs, CA, with his husband, Bruce, and their two rescue dogs, Kodi and Joaquin.