Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Cover Artist: LC Chase
Publication date: November 27, 2017
Length: 317 pages
All that up-and-coming musician Jesse Jamison has ever wanted is to be on the cover of Rolling Stone. When a gossip website nearly catches him kissing someone who isn’t his famous girlfriend—and also isn’t a girl—he considers the near miss a wake-up call. There’s a lot riding on his image as the super-straight rocker, and if he wants to realize his dreams, he’ll need to toe the line. Luckily, he’s into women too. Problem solved.
After a decade pretending to be his ex’s roommate, pediatrician Hunter Wyatt is done hiding. He might not know how to date in the Grindr world, how to make friends in a strange city, or whether his new job in Toronto is a mistake. But he does know that no one is worth the closet. Not even the world’s sexiest rock star.
As Jesse’s charity work at Hunter’s hospital brings the two closer together, a bromance develops. Soon, Hunter is all Jesse can think about. But when it comes down to a choice between Hunter and his career, he’s not sure he’s brave enough to follow his heart.
Hello! I’m Jenny and I’m happy to be here to celebrate the release of Infamous. Infamous is book two in the Famous series, which mixes m/f and m/m romance. (And mixes famous musicians and regular people!) In Infamous, Jesse, our resident bad-boy rock star has to decide if he’s willing to risk his career to be with Hunter, a doctor he’s rapidly falling for. I hope you enjoy it!
At the last second, Jesse changed his mind and sat next to the hot guy instead of the middle-aged businesswoman.
It was a breach of the rules. Jesse had been taking the Sunday afternoon Montreal-to-Toronto train once a month for the past four years, and he had a system, a well-honed methodology developed from painful trial and error.
And by painful, he meant, for example, five hours trapped next to a young mother holding a teething baby.
Most people liked to rush onto the train as soon as possible, and they aggressively went after empty rows, seating themselves alone. But this route always sold out. Since the train was going to fill, it was smarter to hang back a bit, to bide his time and get onto a car that looked like it was about half-full. That way, he could choose his seatmate, whereas all those hasty people alone in two-seater rows had to resign themselves to a journey with whoever happened to plop down next to them.
No, it was infinitely preferable to be in control of one’s own destiny.
And Jesse was nothing if not in control of his destiny.
So whenever Jesse got on a train, the first thing he always did was start profiling the hell out of potential seatmates.
Middle-aged women were the best. Even better if they looked like they were traveling on business. If they also wore wedding rings? Jackpot. Women in general tended not to initiate conversation and left him to pass the time in peace, the aforementioned mother-of-teether being emblematic of an exceptional subcategory: mothers desperately in need of adult conversation.
Another subcategory to avoid regardless of gender? The elderly, God bless them, were not ideal seatmates.
Neither were teenagers, the ultimate undesirable seatmates. They were starting to recognize him. Some people in their twenties and thirties did too, but they usually couldn’t remember from where—or if they did, it sparked a brief conversation and then they picked up on his not-so-subtle cues and left him alone. But if a teenaged girl recognized him, he was doomed. He generally didn’t like to think of teenagers as the band’s target demographic, but you never had any idea what the record label was going to do with your stuff. Before you knew it, you’d be appearing on Spotify playlists called “teen heartbreak” or some shit.
He was beginning to think it was time to arrange alternate transportation for his monthly trips back from Montreal. Things were happening faster on the career front than he’d anticipated. By the time he was on the cover of Rolling Stone, he wasn’t going to be taking the train anymore anyway. And what do they say? “Start as you mean to go on”?
Today, he ambled down the aisle, scanning the rows until he spied the perfect target: midforties, hair blown out into a perfect dark-brown helmet, business suit, laptop already fired up.
As he approached, he surveyed the rest of the car. The row across from the businesswoman was occupied by a man reading a book. He was dressed in an aqua button-down shirt and dark jeans. Salt-and-pepper hair, which was clearly premature—the guy couldn’t have been more than thirty-five—swooshed back into a messy pompadour that was shorter on the sides. His most prominent facial feature was a chiseled jaw dusted with a few days’ worth of beard growth that was more salt than pepper.
Well, shit. A baby silver fox.
The poor bastard would probably end up with some clingy woman sitting next to him, projecting all her hopes onto him for the duration of the trip.
Jesse should do a good deed and sit next to him.
He usually tried to ignore men who weren’t obviously working on something. You never knew with men. It was harder to make snap judgments about them. Sometimes they kept to themselves, but sometimes the newspaper they’d seemed so engrossed in would turn out to be a prop and they’d want to buddy up with you.
Someone was coming up the aisle behind him. Jesse was holding everyone up.
The woman was safer. Infinitely safer.
He set his bag down on the seat next to the man.
Jesse rummaged through it to pull out the items he’d need during the trip—phone, bottle of water, the latest issues of Billboard and Rolling Stone. It was hard not to sigh over the talentless, manufactured boy band on the cover of the latter. But he would have his turn someday.
As he reached up to stash his bag on the overhead shelf, the man looked up and caught his eye.
Jesse nodded as he sat. The man’s eyes were striking—a kind of light brown flecked with gold, bright enough to be visible behind his black horn-rimmed glasses. The silver hair and the almost-gold eyes were a weird but compelling combination, like clashing jewelry.
The man gave a slight smile and said, “Hey,” before returning his attention to his book. A second later, though, his phone dinged. He picked it up and eyed the screen. Jesse watched him key in his passcode and read a long text. His eyes seemed to darken in real time, becoming a little less gold, like the sun dimming. He dropped the phone carelessly into the seat pocket in front of him, closed his eyes, and mouthed, Fuck.
Some part of Jesse’s brain could sense some other part of his brain gearing up to speak.
Don’t do it.
They had a five-hour journey ahead of them.
Don’t do it.
The man’s eyes flew open as the rational part Jesse’s brain railed at the mouth-controlling part, which had apparently gone rogue.
“Sorry,” Jesse said, and what was he doing? This way lay ruin. Or at least the possibility of an excruciatingly tedious five hours, because who knew if he’d been brainwashed by this guy’s good looks? “You just seemed . . . upset all of a sudden.”
The man opened his mouth, then closed it, like maybe he was at war with himself too.
“Sorry,” said Jesse again, which was weird because Spin’s review of the band’s last record had called it “unapologetic,” and never had Jesse been more satisfied with an adjective. “I’ll leave you alone.”
You know the best way to leave someone alone? Leave them the fuck alone.
“I’m a doctor,” the man said, kind of woodenly, like he was trying out this talking thing for the first time. His voice was all gravel and velvet, which should have been a contradiction, but apparently a guy with silver hair and gold eyes didn’t have to hew to the rules that governed the rest of the slobs in the world. “A pediatrician. I have a patient who got some bad news.”
“Yeah?” Jesse prompted, because suddenly, he could no longer imagine anything he’d like to do more for the next five hours than listen to Baby Silver Fox talk about his job. Also: what the hell?
“He needs a new liver. We were testing his brother as a possible donor.” He looked out the window at the passing scenery as he spoke. “It was this kid’s best hope. That was one of the nurses texting with the news that the brother is not a match. Now he’s got to sit around on the waiting list biding time—and time isn’t something this kid has a ton of.” He ran his hands through his hair, scraping his fingers against his scalp in frustration as he turned his attention back to Jesse. “Sorry. That was probably a longer answer than you wanted.”
Christ. That put things into perspective, didn’t it? Here Jesse was, his biggest problem that he wasn’t making enough money to fly back from Montreal after his visits with his sister but he was starting to be recognized on the train. “You know what? I’ll be right back.” He popped up and hunted down the porter, who hadn’t begun food and beverage service yet and, by dangling an enormous tip, managed to procure two tiny bottles of whiskey.
When he plunked them down on Baby Silver Fox’s tray, it occurred to him that maybe whiskey wasn’t the best answer to liver problems, but the man grinned and said, “It’s noon somewhere?”
“Exactly,” said Jesse, a fierce sort of satisfaction lodging in his chest at the idea that he’d made this man smile. “Nothing like a little midmorning whiskey to take your mind off your problems.” He twisted open one of the bottles and handed it over, belatedly wishing he’d gotten something classier than whiskey. This guy probably drank martinis.
“Thanks.” Baby Silver Fox clinked his bottle against Jesse’s and then took a sip.
He wasn’t sure what to say. “So you’re a pediatrician? That must be rewarding.” As soon as it was out, though, he regretted it. The guy tells you a kid is on the verge of death, and you say, “How rewarding”? “On the whole, I mean. Making kids well,” he added, because why stop while he was behind?
“I wish. Most of the kids I see are really sick. I work at Toronto Children’s Hospital. I’m a hospitalist. You know what that is? Most people don’t.”
“I would be one of those people.”
“It’s sort of like a general practitioner, but for patients in the hospital. I oversee their care—many of them are being seen by lots of different kinds of specialists and technicians. I make sure everything is integrated optimally and . . .” He trailed off and sighed.
“And that kids who need new livers get them?” Jesse finished softly.
Baby Silver Fox—make that Dr. Baby Silver Fox—rolled his eyes like he was disgusted with himself. “In theory.”
“Hey, now. It’s not your fault this kid’s brother wasn’t a match.”
“I know. I’m just . . . I don’t know. I moved to Toronto from Montreal three months ago. I thought about changing things up when I decided I was going to move—joining a regular pediatric practice. Giving out vaccines and fixing tummy trouble and referring on the hard cases. You’d think stuff like this would get easier, but it doesn’t.”
“I don’t imagine dying kids ever gets easy.”
The doctor made a vague noise of agreement. “Sometimes I wonder what I was thinking. The point of moving was to make a fresh start. And here I am doing the exact same thing I was doing in Montreal . . . and, Jesus, listen to me. I don’t even know you, and it’s like I think you’re my therapist or something.” He held up his now-empty bottle. “I’m a bit of a lightweight, I’m afraid. And also a chatty drunk, so . . .”
“Hey, it’s okay.” And, amazingly, it was. This was exactly the kind of conversation he normally bent over backward to avoid, but somehow, this time, with this guy, he wanted to know more.
“Let’s change the subject,” said the man. “What about you? What brought you to Montreal? Or is Montreal home?”
“Nope, headed home to Toronto. I’m in a band. We have a monthly gig in Montreal.”
“A band that travels by VIA Rail?” He smiled. “You guys should make a commercial.”
“No, the gig’s on Friday, and the rest of the band heads back afterward in a couple of vans. My sister and her son live in Montreal, though, so I usually spend the weekend with them and make my own way home on Sunday.”
“Would I know your work?”
“I doubt it.”
“The band’s called Jesse and the Joyride.”
“Alas, I don’t think I know it. Are you Jesse?”
“Yep. Jesse Jamison.” He stuck out his hand.
Hunter Wyatt’s hand was soft. Or maybe it was only Jesse’s guitar-induced calluses that made it seem so.
Jesse held on a heartbeat too long, lulled for a moment by the rocking of the train and the warm flesh against his own.
Hunter quirked a smile as he pulled away. “It’s not every day you meet a rock star on the train. Especially a rock star taking the train because he’s so dedicated to his sister. You’re a regular saint.”
“I’m not a saint. Or a rock star, for that matter.” Yet. “But, yeah, it’s just me and my sister and my nephew—he’s three. Our parents are gone. My sister’s had a rough couple of years. She’s mostly on her own with my nephew.”
If only he would leave, once and for all. “Something like that.”
“That’s tough. We’ve all been there.” He huffed a bitter laugh. “Some of us more recently than others.”
“Ah,” Jesse said. “The fresh start. The move to Toronto.”
“Officially I came for the job, but . . . yeah.”
“How long had you been together?”
Jesse whistled. “Wow. I don’t think I’ve ever even made it eight months in a relationship.” Not even close to eight months, truth be told, but he didn’t want to admit that in front of this guy who so clearly had his shit together.
“Not so impressive, really,” Hunter said, “given that I have literally nothing to show for it.”
“So you were back for a visit this weekend?”
“Yeah, the dog died. My ex called and said this was it, so I came up to . . . say goodbye, I guess.”
“Yeah, the worst part is that the dog died before I got there.”
“Your girlfriend leaves you and your dog dies? It’s like a country song—a bad country song.”
The doctor didn’t laugh, just screwed up his face like he was trying to decide something. Then he said, “It’s, uh, not a girl.”
“The dog is not a girl?”
“The girlfriend is not a girlfriend. He’s a boyfriend. Ex-boyfriend.”
Jesse had been afraid of that.
About Jenny Holiday
Jenny Holiday started writing in fourth grade, when her aging-hippie teacher, between Pete Seeger songs, gave the kids notebooks and told them to write stories. Jenny’s featured poltergeist, alien invasions, or serial killers who managed to murder everyone except her and her mom. She showed early promise as a romance writer, though, because nearly every story had a happy ending: fictional Jenny woke up to find that the story had been a dream, and that her best friend, father, and sister had not, in fact, been axe-murdered. Today she is a USA Today bestselling author of historical and contemporary romance. She lives in London, Ontario.
Connect with Jenny:
- Website: jennyholiday.com
- Blog: jennyholiday.com/blog
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/jennyholidaybooks/
- Twitter: @jennyholi
To celebrate the release of Infamous, one lucky winner will receive a $20 Amazon gift card! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on December 2, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!