Author: L.A. Witt
Book: New Hand
Series: Blue Water Bay
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Cover Artist: LC Chase
Publication Date: December 18, 2017
Length: 399 pages
Months after his husband’s death, Garrett Blaine desperately needs a fresh start. He sells his house in Seattle, leaves his accounting job, and starts bartending in Bluewater Bay. There he meets a man who wakes up his nearly forgotten libido.
Jesse Connelly’s friend with benefits bolted after Jesse disclosed his HIV status. Stood up and stinging, Jesse tries to drown his sorrows . . . and finds an unexpected connection with a lonely bartender.
Jesse and Garrett quickly bond over a shared love of comics and card games, and they can’t get enough of each other between the sheets. Not even a bumpy start and a fifteen-year age gap can derail them as they go from strangers to lovers, then friends, then much more.
But as Garrett’s feelings for Jesse deepen, so does his grief for the man he lost—especially as he sees hints of his late husband in his new boyfriend. Now Garrett has to figure out if Jesse is his second chance at true love, or if Jesse’s just filling in for the man he’s never fully grieved. And he needs to figure it out soon, because Jesse’s starting to wonder the same thing.
Before I knew it, it was last call.
To my surprise, though, Jesse didn’t seem to be in a big hurry to take off. He took his time settling his bill, and there was still some Coke left in his glass.
As I wiped down the bar, he glanced at me. “Will your boss get mad if I hang out until you close?”
My hand stopped. “I . . . No. Of course not.” Clearing my throat, I continued mopping up the scattered crumbs and water droplets off the hardwood. “Can’t imagine it’ll be all that exciting for you.”
He smiled. “I’m pretty sure I can keep myself entertained until you’re done.”
I was tempted to ask what the plan was after that, but the words got lost in my throat. Did this mean something? Was he as interested in me as I was in him? I was afraid to ask, thinking I’d send him running. Like the moment was a flock of easily startled pigeons just waiting for a reason to fly off in a panic.
Or maybe that was just me.
“I’m, uh . . . I need to take care of a few things in the back room. Won’t be long.”
“No rush.” God. That smile.
I took the bag of trash out from under my station and ducked through the doorway that led to the kitchen and the break room. At the end of the hall, I leaned out another door to toss the bag in the dumpster. When I stepped back inside, Don was there. He glanced into the barroom, gaze landing on Jesse, and an amused expression curled his lips. “New friend, eh?”
My cheeks burned. Don’s expression was gentle, though. He wasn’t getting on my case, just playfully ribbing me. And maybe there was even something more there. After all, he knew why I’d come to Bluewater Bay.
“Um. Yes, sir.” I cleared my throat. “He’s . . .”
He clapped my shoulder. “Get out of here, Blaine. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Are you sure?”
“Go.” He nudged me toward the door. “Hailey and I can finish up here.”
Don wasn’t terribly generous with the early dismissals, so I wasn’t going to argue. I grabbed my coat and clocked out. When Jesse and I made eye contact, I nodded toward the door, and he followed me outside.
The night was cool and smelled like pine trees and saltwater, and it was a nice switch after being in the stuffy barroom for the last several hours.
“So, um.” I turned to Jesse. “Where are you parked?”
He gestured down the road. “At the end of the block.”
“You, um . . .” I hesitated. “Mind if I walk with you?” I felt stupid asking. He was the one who’d stuck around.
Jesse smiled. “Not at all.”
As we started walking, I slid my hands into the pockets of my jeans. He did the same. We both looked straight ahead, neither saying a word as our steps fell into sync. It had been a long, long time since I’d been a nervous teenager walking through the halls of my high school next to someone I’d been crushing on, frantically trying to work up the courage to say something before the bell rang, but I was pretty sure that had felt a lot like this.
My pulse was all over the place. It had also been ages since I’d made a move on anyone. Especially sober. How did we do this? And was I misreading all his signals? Or giving off the wrong ones myself?
Then Jesse cleared his throat and broke the silence. “You don’t mind me coming in every night and hanging out until you close, do you?”
“Mind?” I shook my head. “Why would I mind?”
“I don’t know.” Jesse stared at the ground and shrugged. “I just didn’t want you thinking I was stalking you or something.”
“Did it seem like I was stalking you when I showed up at the comic book store?”
His lips quirked. “No. It was . . .” He paused, and a smile came to life as he turned toward me. “It was actually really nice. Especially after the shitty day I’d been having.”
“Really? You seemed like you were in a good mood.”
“I was.” He stopped, and when our eyes locked, he whispered, “Because you were there.”
My heart skipped. I had no idea what to say. Judging by the sudden red in his cheeks, he didn’t either.
Jesse dropped his gaze and pushed his hands deeper into his pockets. “I, um . . . It was kind of a rough day. Yesterday, mostly, but I still felt like shit today.” Pulling in a deep breath, he looked at me through his lashes and offered the faintest half shrug. “Then you were there. And the day . . . didn’t suck anymore.”
“Oh.” That was all that remained of my vocabulary. I watched him, lips parted and eyes wide, not sure where to go from here.
The red in his cheeks darkened, and he cleared his throat as he rubbed the back of his neck. “I’m sorry. I’m, uh, not exactly smooth when it comes to this stuff.”
“That makes two of us. I never was good at this part.”
Our eyes locked. The air around us seemed to freeze in place. My heart slammed against my rib cage. Something about our words amped everything up. Like we’d acknowledged this wasn’t just a friendly walk to his car. That “this part” wasn’t my imagination, and something might . . . happen.
Yeah. It might happen. And I wanted it to.
About Bluewater Bay
Welcome to Bluewater Bay! This quiet little logging town on Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula has been stagnating for decades, on the verge of ghost town status. Until a television crew moves in to film Wolf’s Landing, a soon-to-be cult hit based on the wildly successful shifter novels penned by local author Hunter Easton.
Wolf’s Landing’s success spawns everything from merchandise to movie talks, and Bluewater Bay explodes into a mecca for fans and tourists alike. The locals still aren’t quite sure what to make of all this—the town is rejuvenated, but at what cost? And the Hollywood-based production crew is out of their element in this small, mossy seaside locale. Needless to say, sparks fly.
This collaborative story world is brought to you by eleven award-winning, best-selling LGBTQ romance authors: L.A. Witt, L.B. Gregg, Z.A. Maxfield, Heidi Belleau, Rachel Haimowitz, Anne Tenino, Amy Lane, SE Jakes, G.B. Gordon, Jaime Samms and Ally Blue. Each contemporary novel stands alone, but all are built around the town and the people of Bluewater Bay and the Wolf’s Landing media empire.
About LA Witt
L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer who has finally been released from the purgatorial corn maze of Omaha, Nebraska, and now spends her time on the southwestern coast of Spain. In between wondering how she didn’t lose her mind in Omaha, she explores the country with her husband, several clairvoyant hamsters, and an ever-growing herd of rabid plot bunnies. She also has substantially more time on her hands these days, as she has recruited a small army of mercenaries to search South America for her nemesis, romance author Lauren Gallagher, but don’t tell Lauren. And definitely don’t tell Lori A. Witt or Ann Gallagher. Neither of those twits can keep their mouths shut . . .
Connect with L.A.:
- Website: www.gallagherwitt.com
- Author Blog: gallagherwitt.blogspot.com
- Personal Blog: navywifeadventures.blogspot.
- Twitter: @GallagherWitt
- Facebook: facebook.com//L-A-Witt-MM-Fiction
- Goodreads: goodreads.com/GallagherWitt
To celebrate the release of New Hand, one lucky winner will receive a $10 Riptide credit and their choice of two ebooks off LA Witt’s backlist (not counting New Hand)! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on December 23, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!