Today I am so pleased to welcome Dann Hazel to Joyfully Jay. Dann has come to talk to us about his latest audio release, Lonely Diner. Please join me in giving a big welcome!

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Exclusive Excerpt

When Lance looked into Ryan’s eyes, he saw them filled with tears. 

“Let me tell you about my ultimate performance, Lance. Before I enlisted in the Navy, I got married. To a woman. Her name is Vikki. We were friends through most of our school years. I pretended to be a straight sailor when I returned to base, but on the submarine? I could have been an opportunistic little whore—at least, had there been enough chances for being bad, which were never as numerous as you might assume. But in the depths of the deep blue sea? I realized why I never felt whole. Never felt congruent. When I returned home, whenever I fucked Vikki, I’d close my eyes and pretend I was making love—to another man. Then, I got her pregnant. Though we’re divorced now, we have a young daughter. Diamond.” He smiled through his silent tears. “I was a good father—until I stopped being a father at all. You see, Vikki and Diamond live in Virginia. Sure, I call. Occasionally. But not nearly often enough. Knowing my ex-wife, I’m certain I’ll hear about that when they arrive next week.” 

“They’re coming to visit you. That’s nice.” 

Ryan’s eyes grew wide and wild. “No, it’s not. My daughter was recently diagnosed with leukemia. She’s scheduled to begin her treatment at the MUSC Children’s Hospital. They’ll be here, if all goes well, for about a month. And as much as I want to see my daughter—and my ex-wife, too, I guess—I keep reminding myself of how my ex-wife and our daughter really get in the way of my life as a gay man. God knows I love Diamond, but I can’t help thinking that being a gay man would be so much easier had I not made the decisions I did.” 

Lance reached across the table. He rested his hand on Ryan’s forearm. “I’m so sorry, Ryan. I can’t imagine what you must be going through.” 

Then, Ryan’s sharp voice. “And then, there’s us. You and me. The couple that materialized and dissolved in an instant. I really wanted a chance with you, Lance.” 

“I fucked that up royally and I’m really sorry. Much sorrier than you’ll ever know.” 

Ryan moved his arm from the table and placed it in his lap. “What was going on with the two of you, anyway? My head almost exploded when he kissed you, Lance. James. Isn’t that his name?” 

Lance nodded. “It is. He was drunk and jealous. Things between us were beginning to burn out already. The kissing in your presence was James’ power move. I didn’t know of your interest at the time, and I was feeling desperate. Desperate for you. For a lover who died not very long ago. For James, if he was indeed the only one I could have. My consolation prize that I’d become willing to settle for.” 

“Now, Lance,” Ryan said. “Do we have a chance now?” 

“I sure would like to think we do.” 

Ryan smiled, his eyes locked onto Lance’s. 

Then, as though at the flick of a switch, Ryan burst into tears. 

“I don’t want her to die! I couldn’t bear to watch my little girl die.”

Lance quickly slid into the chair next to Ryan. He put an arm around Ryan’s shoulders and pulled him into an embrace. Ryan wrapped his arms around Lance’s torso and pulled him close, squeezing as though for dear life.

Lance continued to hold Ryan close and tight. He kissed Ryan’s forehead and caressed his back. They remained just like that, except in silence.

Because, really, right now, in the darkness of the unknown? 

What was there to say?


Blurb

lonely diner audio coverSome Like It Haute! Book 3

Two conflicted military men. A longing for happiness. One Lonely Diner, where people often search for a recipe for love. (The food is good there, too.)

One man plays it straight. Another grieves over a lost best friend with benefits.

Everyone thought they were meant for each other. Lance, an Air Force computer engineer, and Ryan, a former submariner in the Navy and now a military college professor, are gay men blinded by the painful wounds of their past decisions. Both men are ready for love. But because of their pasts, they’ve slammed the brakes on their desires.

Now thirty years old, a younger Ryan Ball decides he can be happy only by conforming to social expectations. So what does he do? He decides he must have a wife and kids. Though he acknowledges that he can never be straight, he is convinced that with effort, determination, alcohol and erectile dysfunction meds, he can play the necessary roles.

Vikki, Ryan’s girlfriend in high school and now his wife, begs to differ.

At thirty-one, Lance Dingle falls for his best friend and roommate, Randy, a stunt pilot who agrees to a friends-with-benefits arrangement. From Lance’s perspective, there’s a spark in their arrangement that Randy denies. Then, tragedy strikes. Lance finds himself alone and lonely, living with memories of Randy and an ever-expanding list of “what-might-have-beens.” Finally forcing himself into the dating scene, Lance discovers that Mr. Right is more elusive than he ever imagined.

Then, Callie Yenti, transwoman, drag performer extraordinaire and entrepreneur, enters the picture. She owns the popular Lonely Diner and possesses an uncanny insight into the workings of the heart.

Even the complicated hearts of her two hard-headed friends, Lance and Ryan.

A HEA gay romance.

Trigger Warning: This novel includes scenes from a sexual assault and a PTSD episode.

Tropes: Military Romance, Coming Out, Overcoming Adversity, Second Chances.


Bio

dann hazel bio photoDann Hazel has been writing both fiction and nonfiction for more than twenty years.

Besides writing romance, he has taught high school English and journalism, college psychology and human sexuality, directed federal grants and worked as a therapist in a psychiatric hospital. His fiction genre interests include thrillers, horror, literary and gay romance. He has published the Some Like It Haute Gay Romance Series, including Room for Dessert, My Own Private Biscuit and Lonely Diner.

Nonfiction works include Witness: Gay and Lesbian Clergy Report from the Front and Moving On: The Gay Man’s Guide for Coping When a Relationship Ends.

Dann’s personal interests include reading and writing, cinema, jogging, Broadway, keeping abreast of current events and travel.

Currently, Dann lives in Central Florida with his husband, Josh, and their American Eskimo canine, Flurry.

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