Charles Darwin Millsworth, Chaz to one and all since infancy, has no wish to live up to the grandeur of his name. Fortunately, his Southern belle mama isn’t at all inclined to push her son into a career that won’t make him happy. She thinks he needs to loosen up and enjoy life. After all, that’s the whole point of being independently wealthy, isn’t it?
Chaz can see her point, but his father died in his forties as did his father before him. As far as Chaz is concerned, he has limited time on this earth to make his dreams come true. And he refuses to leave anyone weeping over a wasted life.
Sprocket Moretti is a simple guy. He loves his job, enjoys college, lives in his beloved childhood home—why worry about the little things when the big stuff looks so good. Unfortunately one of the little things he tries not to stress over is a broken friendship with a very hot and bewildering sous chef. They were pals, hung out and had fun. But one night they stepped over that invisible line, and the next morning Chaz kicked Sprocket out of his bed and his life.
Now, no matter how much Sprocket tries to charm Chaz, the guy has no desire to return to their pre-sex playful bantering ways. And if Sprocket stays true to his motto, this little thing—Chaz—should be written off and never worried about again.
If Sprocket had known one night of reality altering orgasms would endanger their easygoing friendship… How do you finish that sentence when all your mind wants is its friend back and all your body wants is another taste?
Sprocket grabbed the grande hot chocolates—with a dash of his favorite flavoring, pecan—and reached the gazebo with five minutes to spare, per the clock tower.
He set the drinks on the bench of the gazebo so he could spread the blanket across the floor.
“Wow, that’s a huge blanket,” Chaz stated as he took the three step up to stand at the edge of it.
“Never took you for a size queen.” Sprocket winked as he handed him a cup of steaming goodness. “So, what’s for lunch?”
“Oh, well…” Chaz held the basket close to his chest as he slipped off his shoes and situated himself in the middle of the blanket. “Not much.” He pulled a thermos from the basket. “I made homemade tomato soup and chicken salad sandwiches.” He set the thermos down and pulled out wrapped sandwiches, a bag of croutons, a plastic bowl with a translucent red lid, and a small stack of china dishes in rapid succession.
“My grandma used to make me tomato soup and grilled cheese all the time. Except she’d actually grill the cheese before putting it on the sourdough toast. I tried to make it once…didn’t end so well.” He laughed as he shook his head, settling down next to Chaz on the blanket.
“But I’ve heard you and Mason talk; you cook most of the time between the two of you.”
Sprocket accepted the sandwich handed to him and nodded. “Yep. Well you know, we both can cook, but neither of us gets much fun out of it.” He unwrapped the sandwich and picked up half, biting into it. He couldn’t suppress his moan. Damn that was good, and Chaz put nuts in it for crunch, walnuts and pecans. How did he know pecans were Sprocket’s favorite? A part of him wanted to believe maybe Chaz had asked around. Anyone in Craft Time would know and Prudence did too.
Not that it mattered either way. Nothing strange about a friend—and only a friend—knowing something as mundane as that. He quickly chewed and swallowed. “And we definitely don’t do fancy. Unless you count roast, but even then I sprinkle the seasoning on it and throw it in the oven. No fuss, no muss.”
With his next bite, something popped in his mouth, making him want to gag. He held it back, and while Chaz gazed out over the park at the kids running in the playground Sprocket lifted the toast to see what he bit into. Grapes. He grimaced as he quickly plucked the halved grapes out of the salad and dropped them on the napkin by his leg.
“You don’t like grapes?”
Sprocket jumped. Fuck…busted. “I like them fine. I like them right off the vine, frozen, even mashed up as wine…don’t like them so much with seeds, though.”
“Or in a sandwich, apparently.” Chaz noted, gesturing to the evidence on the blanket between them.
“Well…” Sprocket jammed the rest of the sandwich in his mouth and chewed slowly, biding himself some time. While he was trying to break down the enormous amount of food in his mouth, he grabbed the other half of the sandwich and proceeded to pick the grapes out of that also.
Chaz raised an eyebrow at him, and he shrugged. He’d already been caught, no use faking it up now.
Reaching over, Chaz snatched Sprocket’s wrist and guided it to his mouth. Sprocket gulped the food in his mouth down, his stomach somersaulting either from the partially chewed lump it just received or because of the man sitting across from him on the blanket.
This wasn’t what friends did. Friends didn’t use their friend’s fingers as utensils. Still, he probably could’ve gotten past this moment if there hadn’t been a smidge of mayonnaise on the tip of his nail. Chaz spotted it, and while staring Sprocket in the eye, he put that spot right in front of his mouth. They sat like that for an eternity. Sprocket could feel his heart pounding fast, wondered if his pulse alerted Chaz to his extreme interest in the man’s next move.
He wanted to shout at Chaz to lick him. Do it now. Put him out of his misery. There was nothing Sprocket wanted more than to experience the wetness of Chaz’s tongue as it cleaned the white stuff from his finger. That was a lie. Sprocket wanted them to make more white stuff that had to be cleaned off, the kind you couldn’t purchase in a store. Well, maybe you could purchase it…but he really didn’t want his brain to go off on that tangent.
Finally—finally!—Chaz licked the condiment off. Before he could move back and call an end to this little episode, Sprocket broke free of his grip and hooked his hand behind the other man’s neck, holding him there, unable to move away.
When their lips met, it wasn’t gentle and coaxing. Sprocket wasn’t in that kind of mood. He wanted bad and he wanted now. Fuck friends. That whole concept was overrated if it kept him up all night in need. Anyway, this wasn’t his fault. Chaz started this shit; Sprocket would finish it.
And this time, he’d be better prepared. When Chaz kicked him the fuck out of his life, it wouldn’t tear him apart. Because no matter what, he’d make sure there wasn’t a spot in his heart for Chaz. Sprocket willingly would give up half his bed for the man, but nothing more.
While diving his tongue in Chaz’s mouth—reaching far enough back he could say with great certainty Chaz no longer had tonsils—Sprocket damn near convinced himself that he could do that, too.
Then Chaz whimpered, his hand pressing against Sprocket’s chest, right over his heart, and Sprocket knew he was a goner.
Havan: Thanks TTC Books and More for having Lee Brazil and me over today. We’re here to answer a few questions and give you a glimpse of our new holiday release Heart on the Run. I love this book…love the characters Chaz and Sprocket and how they tend to make me want to slap them while pulling my hair out. LMAO But, they also make me want to sit back and smile, because they are real people figuring out love—and let’s face it, love ain’t easy or even pretty sometimes. :)
Lee: *chimes in* Yes, thank you so much for hosting us! There’d be a gift here for you, but Havan ate the cookies on the way over…
Havan: You know I can’t keep my hands off your cookies. *big smiles*
Lee: *blushes* Yes well, all that’s left is a crumby plate. *grins* Chaz and Sprocket are great—and I really enjoyed writing this book.
How far in advance do you generally have your novels planned out?
Havan: That depends on if the characters tell me what’s going to happen in advance. I’ve got two books completely outlined right now, yet in the middle of writing one of them I kicked out my final book in my Pulp Friction series with no problem and no outline. Planning out the books doesn’t necessarily equate to an easier writing experience…at least not for me.
Lee: Depends on the book. I’ve had Linwood Academy #2 “planned out” for about a year and a half now. BUT I won’t be writing it until January of 2016. Other books, I don’t plan at all.
When you're in the midst of one novel, do you know what the next one will be?
Havan: Sometimes, yeah. I’m writing Chance at Forever right now, and I already know what’s on my list next…now if it actually happens that way…um…see my answer to the previous question…LMAO!!
Lee: Sometimes. Sometimes other stories jump the line and insist on being told first.
Do you prefer to write series or standalone books?
Havan: Both. I prefer to write series that can be standalone books. Don’t get me wrong – I love my Pulp Friction series, which are most definitely not standalone books. Those you have to read in order (and preferably in the order of the collection, not just the series). I adore those characters and loved going back to them over and over to expand on their story arc and eventually wrap it all up. But there’s something about having a set place (like Parkerburg) and being able to visit that spot and those people with new characters and new stories and not having to keep an ongoing story arc present. Each book in the Hearts of Parkerburg collection can be picked up and read without any others and you still get a complete romance with a HEA (or at least a HFN) ending.
Lee: I prefer stand alones, but sometimes there is a character who appears and just begs to have his story told. And I never could resist a pretty plea.
Havan: Hmmm…good to know, Lee. :)
Thank you, TTC Books and More, for having us over today. If you’d like to read more about the great people of Parkerburg check out their books Christmas in His Heart and Heart on the Run…with more to come too! Because the Hearts of Parkerburg are enough to make you go woo woo.
Meet the authors:
Somewhere in a small town in up-state New York are a librarian and a second grade teacher to whom I owe my life. That might be a touch dramatic, but it’s nevertheless one hundred percent true.
Because they taught me the joy of reading, of escaping into worlds crafted of words.
Have you ever been nine years old and sure of nothing so much as that you don’t belong? Looked at the world from behind glasses, and wondered why you don’t fit?
Someone hands you a book, and then you turn the page and see… There you are, running from Injun Joe in a dark graveyard; there you are fencing with Athos; there you are…beneath the deep blue sea- marveling at exotic creatures with Captain Nemo.
I found myself between the pages of books, and that is why I write now. It’s why I taught English and literature for so many years, and it’s why my house contains more pounds of books than furniture.
If I’d had my way, I’d have been a fencer…or a starship captain, or a lawyer, or a detective solving crimes. But instead, I am a writer, and I’ve come to realize that’s the best thing in the world to be, because as a writer, I can be all those things and more.
If I hadn’t learned to value the stories between the pages, who knows what would have happened? Certainly not college…teaching…or writing.
Lee Brazil Author links:
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/leebrazilauthor
Newsletter Signup: http://eepurl.com/qBhBb
I annoy, love, respect, scare, seduce, hurt, anger, infatuate, frustrate, flatter, envy, amuse and tolerate everyone. I just do it better in writing thanks to a little thing called…edits.
Okay no, seriously…I'm a simpleminded person who enjoys the escape from real life through a book. I write with the group Story Orgy and hope to continue doing so for a long time. I also am privileged to be with the Pulp Friction writers, creating intermingling books in a world all our own.
I recently took the drastic step of quitting my EDJ (evil day job) and am now living in the gorgeous desert in Arizona making a go at this writing stuff full time…and I can’t see me regretting this decision ever.
Just like every other red-blooded human—I get a little bouncy when I get mail (any kind too…email, comments, private messages…you wanna do it, do it with me *winks*). So feel free to drop me a line—whether it's on my blog, twitter, PInterest, or you track me down on FaceBook or Google +…it's easy to catch someone who wants to be caught.
Havan Fellows Author links:
Twitter - @havanfellows
Pinterest - https://www.pinterest.com/havanfellows/
Tour Dates & Stops:
24-Nov: Elisa - My Reviews and Ramblings,
3-Dec: TTC Books and More
12-Dec: My Fiction Nook
17-Dec: Jessie G. Books
19-Dec: The Day Before You Came
22-Dec: QUEERcentric Books
24-Dec: Prism Book Alliance
Rafflecopter Prize: Kindle Fire with books from Havan Fellows & Lee Brazil