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Length: 219 pages
Cover Design: Reese Dante
Travis spends a week every year at Camp Evermore, the camp his adoptive parents own. As a pro baseball player, his presence guarantees a full campground and excited campers. He has one rule: never, ever mess around with anyone at camp. His profession demands he stay in the closet. But one sweet and funny new dad is about to test all his resolve.
Sparks fly for Geo and Travis, and not because of the nightly campfire. Having been a foster kid himself, Travis is drawn to Geo’s sincerity and big heart and to his kids. The four of them just fit. But will this be a summer romance? Or can they find a way to be a family long after Family Camp is over?
About the Daddy Dearest series
The Daddy Dearest series will consist of stand-alone contemporary novels focusing on single gay dads who find hot romance. Expect laughs, sweet and sexy slow-burn romance, and lots of family feels!
After struggling to get anyone to even consider allowing him to adopt, Geo finally is able to foster two kids—both with considerable emotional trauma after being in the social welfare system. Determined to make their first summer together one of the best, Geo signs up for Family Camp and hopes that it will be a positive experience for all of them. But it seems fate is determined to kick Geo’s behind when first a precious doll is lost after little Lucy ends up wandering off at a rest stop and then the trio run out of gas on the way to Big Bear Lake. With Lucy screaming and twelve year old Jayden refusing to be anything but be sarcastic and distant, Geo is relieved when a kind hearted stranger stops and handily has a gas can to offer the struggling foster dad. The guy is hot and there seems to be an instant connection until something sets him off and suddenly the air between them turns frosty and less than friendly. Geo is puzzled but drives on, finally getting everyone to camp in one piece.
Travis has one week a year when he can leave pro baseball behind and just be himself with the family that lovingly plucked him out of the foster care system when he was twelve. The camp his parents run every summer is his oasis and opportunity to recharge. Regardless of how much he loves his big family, Travis has never come out to them or to his teammates—after all there are no gay men in professional baseball. When he realizes the guy he stopped to helped alongside the road was not necessarily committed to keeping the two foster kids he had in tow, all of the old anger and mistrust he felt as a boy burbles to the surface and he knows he needs to get away from the guy before he says something he will regret. Then camp starts and who should turn up but the very same guy. Now Travis may have to eat a bit of crow and admit he misjudged the man who obviously loves the two kids he’s brought to camp. When the apology leads to more, Travis is in foreign territory—not sure if he should pursue a relationship or stay firmly locked in the closet.
Eli Easton has created an incredibly tender and emotional story with the release of her new novel, Family Camp. There is so much going on in this deceptively simple story—the idea of a professional sports figure still fearing coming out and what it will do to his career is one tangent while another focuses on how damaging the foster care system can be for children and how desperate they are to find a forever home that offers love and acceptance. I must tell you that this story was a tearjerker at times. Little Lucy and her failure to thrive due to not being nurtured and held as a baby was just heartbreaking. But Geo was amazing and so committed to giving Lucy and Jayden a safe place to call their own.
The dynamic between Travis and Geo was not only sweet and romantic but oddly never felt like the standard insta-love/attraction trope I often see in m/m novels. Despite their being little time, days really, for these guys to establish deep feelings for each other, I really felt their connection was valid and realistically written. I believed they were into each other and it wasn’t just about sex—instead I loved how Travis found Geo to be so kind and funny—something the more standoffish and serious ball player really needed in a partner. I also appreciated how the author didn’t make everyone magically happy by the end of the novel. Lucy would always be small and bear the physical signs of her early years of neglect and Travis and Geo would have to wait more than a year for their happy ever after. Those elements leant an authenticity to this romance tale that made it that much more appealing to me.
If you are looking for a fairly low angst story that is beautifully written with a satisfying happy ever after than I would recommend you snatch up Family Camp. I am so happy this is the beginning of a series by Easton and look forward to future installments.
Sixth inning. Geo was ready for the game to be over. It was fucking hot on the ball field, all open and exposed, the sun baking down. And he was also not sure how much more Travis-watching he could take—him with his silky burgundy gym shorts and a sweaty Camp Evermore green shirt stretched over those muscles. His long legs were tanned and well-defined from hours at the gym.
Those thighs could fucking crack walnuts. Dude.
Damn, but that was one fine-looking man. Geo knew he should lay off, though. Travis had made himself clear.
Only he hadn’t. At all. One minute, Travis seemed into him him. He sought out Geo’s company, like the way he kept coming by the cabin at night. And the next minute, he’d put distance between them, ignoring Geo or closing himself off behind a granite-like expression and those eye-hiding shades. And Travis had laid a clear line in the sand. Not at camp. Not gonna happen.
Yup. That was fine. Sure, Geo hadn’t been mutually attracted to a guy that hot in ages. Or ever, really. But Geo hadn’t come to camp to fool around. He had other priorities.
It did make him wonder though. Bridget had said Travis wasn’t out. A quick Google search last night had confirmed that. In fact, Geo had been shocked to discover there’d never been an out baseball player in the major leagues. Like, in the history of American baseball. Which was tragic. No wonder Travis was in the closet. It had to suck monkey balls living like that. Especially with all the women who threw themselves at him constantly. There were a dozen women on the sidelines right now that looked ready to have his babies. That had to be weird for a gay guy. Didn’t it?
Geo himself was always super uncomfortable when women came on to him. He felt compelled to blurt out “I’m gay!” in the first five minutes. It was just too weird otherwise.
Then again, Travis’s love life was none of Geo’s business. Maybe the guy was bisexual. Maybe he liked dating women just fine.
Jayden came up to bat. Geo focused on his son, clapping hard. “Come on, Jayden! You’ve got this!”
Jayden took a wide stance beside the plate, both hands gripping the bat, choked up a little. Travis had spent a few minutes with Jayden at the start of the game, showing him how to stand, and Jayden copied him exactly. The kid was a great mimic. He’d been nervous at first, tense and defensive. But by now he just looked focused. He stared, narrow-eyed, at Frank as Frank pitched an easy ball.
Geo loved that about this game, that everyone tried to give the kids easy wins, and no one took the competition seriously.
Jayden hit the ball hard. It flew through the air a short ways then plonked to the ground and skipped along fast. It was heading right down the center line, though a bit more towards third base and Travis’s side of the field.
“Go Jayden! Go!” Geo shouted. He went after the ball. In his peripheral vision, he saw Jayden round first base and keep running.
Travis was going after the ball too, dodging low. He scooped it up. He was going to throw it to third base, keep Jayden back on second. Geo couldn’t let that happen.
He dove in front of Travis, crowding him, holding an arm out to block Travis from throwing the ball.
Travis snorted, bemused. “What are you doing? You’re on my team.” He backed up, trying to get away from Geo.
“Blood before bros, man,” Geo said with fake seriousness. He kept up with Travis, step for step, grabbing Travis’s right arm in a firm grip so he couldn’t raise the ball.
“Stop it!” Travis laughed. “Dork. That’s not legal.”
They took three steps back, like they were dancing. Geo held Travis’s right arm, staring him down. Travis met his gaze, a goofy smile on his lips. Back and back they stumbled. Suddenly, Travis got a sparkle in his eyes. He wrapped his left arm around Geo’s waist and picked him up, swinging him around so he ended up behind Travis.
Geo was still finding his feet as Travis drew back his arm and sent the ball sailing.
Right to home plate. But Jayden got there first. Umpire Cindy made the motion with her hands, safe.
Geo laughed and raised his arms in triumph. “Yeah, baby! Great job, Jayden! Home run, whoo!”
Then he realized everyone was staring at them. On the sidelines, there were a dozen cameras raised, filming.
Oh. Er. Hmm. Geo wiped his face, feeling sheepish.
That’s when a piercing scream rent the air.
Having been, at various times and under different names, a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, a game designer, the author of paranormal mysteries, a fan fiction writer, and organic farmer, Eli has been a m/m romance author since 2013. She has over 30 books published.
Eli has loved romance since her teens and she particular admires writers who can combine literary merit, genuine humor, melting hotness, and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story. She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time. She currently lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her husband, bulldogs, cows, a cat, and lots of groundhogs.
In romance, Eli is best known for her Christmas stories because she’s a total Christmas sap. These include “Blame it on the Mistletoe”, “Unwrapping Hank” and “Merry Christmas, Mr. Miggles”. Her “Howl at the Moon” series of paranormal romances featuring the town of Mad Creek and its dog shifters has been popular with readers. And her series of Amish-themed romances, Men of Lancaster County, has won genre awards.
Her website is www.elieaston.com
You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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