Book: Life on Pause
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Cover Artist: LC Chase
Publication date: October 30, 2017
Length: 289 pages
Niles Longfellow is a nerd, and not the trendy type of nerd, either. He wears a historically accurate homesteader costume to work every day, has a total of one friend, and doesn’t know how to talk to guys. So when he gets a flat tire and the hottest hipster ever stops to help him, all Niles can think is that he’s wearing his stupid cowboy getup. Normally, Niles feels invisible to other men, but he’d take that invisibility any day over Rusty Adams seeing him in suede and fringe.
Rusty moved to Bison Hills to help his sister raise her daughter, and nothing is more important to him than that. He’s also fresh off a breakup, and isn’t prepared for anything complicated. But then he meets Niles. Rusty sees Niles as more than a clumsy, insecure guy in a costume. He sees a man who is funny, quirky, and unexpected.
Nothing about their connection is simple, though, especially the lies and insecurities between them. Niles doesn’t know if he can trust Rusty with his heart, and when Rusty’s sister decides to move away, Rusty doesn’t know if he can stay behind.
Favorite Small Town Romances
Life on Pause is set in a small fictional town in eastern Oklahoma called Bison Hills. Setting is one of my favorite parts of a story to write, and this was no exception.
I grew up in a small town in Oklahoma—my graduating class had eighty-four students, if that gives you an idea—but have since lived in only larger cities. There are a lot of amazing romances in urban settings, but I love a small town romance done well.
My small town reading obsession can probably be traced back to Anne of Green Gables, if I’m being perfectly honest. I love reading about colorful local personalities, and nosy neighbors, and gossip, and sometimes the very realistic desire to escape or grow beyond small town expectations. And I am especially drawn to small town settings that do not conform to my expectations of a particular location. Here are some of my favorite small town romances that I’ve read (or reread) within the last year.
Tender with a Twist by Annabeth Albert: This is the second m/m romance in the Rainbow Cove series. It has such a great Pacific Northwest small town feel, plus an age gap romance and an inexperienced Dom. Be still my heart.
Scrap Metal by Harper Fox: This m/m romance set on the isolated Isle of Arran in Scotland was a reread for me recently, and I found it just as touching and beautiful. Who doesn’t want to fall in love with a Scottish sheep farmer?
Grog Monster by Melissa Blue: I’ll admit that I am currently reading this m/f romance and haven’t finished it yet. But I love that the heroine runs a bar called Grog Monster. The book touches on the pressures of growing up under a microscope and the difficulty of being the new guy in town. So far, it’s hitting all my buttons.
Whiskey Business by Avon Gale: Gale’s books are always good for a laugh and a dose of feelings, and this m/m romance set in Gallows Grove on the Bourbon Trail in Kentucky is probably my favorite. It highlights everything I love about small town romance, from local flavor to history to the complicated feelings of growing up where everyone knows everything about you.
Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai: This m/f romance is my favorite book I’ve read all year. I’m not actually sure how big the town is where this book takes place, but it has a very small town feel to me. The plot centers around an intergenerational family feud and the lovers caught in the middle of their dysfunctional families. The feud affects everyone involved, and echoes through the community, where gossip abounds. I also love the sexiness of this book and the way it approaches the depression of the heroine.
Dancing Lessons by R. Cooper: I very recently picked up this m/m romance, and it’s breathtaking. Set in a small town in California, with most of the action taking place at a dance studio, this book shows how restorative small towns can be and how sometimes community can help mend a heart.
Roller Girl by Vanessa North: This f/f romance with a trans main character has one thing that I’m super obsessed with—roller derby. This is set in Lake Lovelace in Florida, like the rest of the series, but can be read as a standalone. One of my favorite aspects of this romance is the female friendships and found family. North writes a lot of good small town romance. I really dig her books Summer Stock and Blueberry Boys as well.
Pansies by Alexis Hall: This m/m romance set in a coastal town in England touches on a lot of tropes I love—enemies to lovers, main character returning to hometown, redeemed main character, vacation romance. Plus, one of the characters works in a flower shop. It’s a brilliant romance that I couldn’t put down.
Haven by Rebekah Weatherspoon: This m/f romance is super sexy, with threads of dominance and submission throughout. I particularly like the way this story deals with trauma and its lasting effects. It very realistically touches on the tensions of growing up and staying in a small town where everyone knows everything about you and thinks it’s their right to be up in your business.
What’s your favorite small town romance? Tell me in the comments!
About the Author
Erin McLellan writes contemporary romance, often set in the South or Midwest—particularly Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas—with characters that are complex, good-hearted, and sometimes a little quirky. Erin likes her stories to have a sexy spark and a happily ever after.
Erin has a bachelor’s degree in creative writing from Oklahoma State University and a master’s degree in library and information studies from the University of Oklahoma. She has always enjoyed writing, but becoming a librarian and meeting enthusiastic romance readers helped her find her own writing passion. Now Erin cheerfully writes romance with characters across the LGBTQIA spectrum. A former public librarian, she still enjoys being surrounded by books and readers, but Erin hopes to find her stories on the shelves as well.
Originally from Oklahoma, she currently lives in Alaska with her husband, and spends her time dreaming up love stories set in the Great Plains. She is a lover of chocolate, college sports, antiquing, Dr Pepper, and binge-worthy TV shows.
Connect with Erin:
To celebrate the release of Life on Pause, one lucky winner will receive a $20 Riptide gift card! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on November 4, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!