Book: Change of Address
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Publication date: October 24, 2016
Length: 312 pages
Air Force sergeant Michael Baldwin wanted nothing more than to escape his family’s political ambitions, but his dream of freedom was shattered by an enemy bullet to the head. Two years later, he and his service dog, Kaylee, resist his father’s demand to join him on the campaign trail—where a photogenic “wounded warrior” is always an asset—and instead return to the family’s summer home on Hartsbridge Island.
There Michael and his beautiful German shepherd capture the attention of Josh Goldberg, co-owner of the local bagel shop. Josh has a knack for business and a killer repertoire of his bubbe’s recipes. But lack of education undermines his confidence, and Josh’s father doesn’t share his ambition for the restaurant’s future.
Chicken soup and bacon might be the way to Michael’s heart, but he and Josh need time to learn about everything that comes after—lessons that Governor Baldwin and his relentless ambition will do anything to thwart. Letting someone in is a tall order for two men who can’t trust themselves, but if they have any hope of a future together, that’s exactly what they’ll need to do.
The brisket was surprisingly good, which helped Michael to relax and concentrate on something other than watching his environment. That was Kaylee’s job, and though she was young for a fully trained service dog, she was focused on the doors—a comforting reminder that Michael wasn’t alone.
Not that he’d really been alone anyway. He glanced toward the back of the restaurant. On the customer side, there was a closed door with a bathroom sign. He could see straight through the open kitchen door behind the counter, where the cashier seemed to be working on a laptop.
Dark-blond hair fell to his shoulders in a mess of neglected curls. His back was rounded from leaning in close to the screen. His bright-blue polo shirt had short enough sleeves to show New Hampshire–pale arms. No desert tan. No hard muscles. No tattoos.
Being around a guy like this was the exact opposite of how Michael’s life had gone for the last ten years. He’d never had trouble finding company, even before Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was repealed, but they’d all been hard-bodied soldiers. And in DC, during his recovery, Michael had gravitated toward dark, anonymous clubs to find his one-night stands. Picking up a civilian in daylight would be a nice change—especially one with a welcoming smile and a charming laugh.
Had Michael returned that smile? He couldn’t remember. He’d ordered his lunch on autopilot, too wary to do more than assess the cashier’s nonexistent threat level. He hadn’t even bothered to note the name tag.
“Next time,” he murmured to Kaylee, reaching down to ruffle her fur. She gave him a doggie grin, tail whooshing over the floor. There’d definitely be a next time. Last Michael checked, Hartsbridge Island didn’t have a big assortment of restaurants, and he wasn’t going to live on his own cooking just to soothe his hypervigilant nature.
After polishing off the sandwich, he picked up the menu and unfolded the glossy paper. He didn’t bother to take his reading glasses out of his bag. One side of the menu listed bagels sold by the baker’s dozen, meat and cheese platters, and party-size soups and subs. The other had breakfasts, hot and cold sandwiches, and soups of the day. The shop’s phone and fax numbers, too blurry for him to make out, were at the bottom. And hadn’t the cashier said something about delivery?
Tempting, but no. Part of Kaylee’s training involved reminding him when he hadn’t left home for a couple of days. Heading into town for a bagel was a good way to keep from becoming a shut-in.
Kaylee sat up abruptly, ears perked toward the window, just as a young woman walked into the shop. Her polo shirt matched the cashier’s, with Bagel End embroidered over her heart in a vaguely Elvish font. Another employee starting her shift or coming off break meant they expected a surge in customers, maybe an early dinner rush, which was Michael’s signal to bail. He’d give Kaylee her roast beef at the town green across the street.
“Let’s go,” he told Kaylee, who pushed up to all fours and stepped away from his chair. He threw out his trash, then brought the tray to the counter, hoping to coax his cashier out of the kitchen, but no such luck. The young woman was already back there, tying on a green apron with the shop’s logo covering the front.
“I’ll get that. Thanks!” she said brightly, rushing close enough for him to see her name tag. Dee. Not the name he wanted to know. As she picked up the tray, leaving him the to-go box of roast beef, she grinned down at Kaylee and asked, “How was your meal?”
“Great,” Michael said truthfully.
Turning her smile on him, she said, “Hope you two come back soon.”
With one last glance through the open kitchen door, Michael promised, “We will.”
About Jordan S. Brock
Coffee-fueled author Jordan Brock writes engaging contemporary romance with a deliciously pan-romantic sensibility and an emphasis on consent, respect, and, of course, love. Her characters are constantly surprised by the way love’s slow burn sneaks up on them.
Jordan’s children are all four-legged and furry. They love to be oh-so-helpful with her writing. She can usually be found hiding from the sun with her service dog and her puppy-in-training. (She tried the training thing with cats first, since cats are so much smarter, but it was a no-go.)
Before she was published, Jordan worked as a tech writer in the semiconductor industry. She’s also created labs and learning materials for auto, diesel , and motorcycle mechanics. The technology was the easy part; the hard part was trying not to slip in pop-culture snark.
Jordan lives in the desert outside Phoenix, Arizona, despite the fact she turns into gray goo and blue hair dye when exposed to heat. For fun, she hunts scorpions in the backyard, with a blowtorch, and a crowbar. She’s chronically unavailable for at least a month after new game releases from Blizzard. She’s an unapologetic fangirl and has been known to write an occasional fanfic to prove Bucky Barnes is not a villain. Oh, and she crochets the cutest amigurumi ever.
If you’d like to learn more about Jordan, check out her blog and website at jordansbrock.com.
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To celebrate the release of Change of Address, one lucky winner will receive a stuffed United States Air Force bear and $15 in Riptide credit!
Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 29, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!