The night Nick Henderson storms into Martelli’s Pizzeria, he’s just looking for something to eat. Along with dinner, he finds Lou Martelli—pizza cook extraordinaire and Jersey Shore native. Nick is renting a Shore house for the winter while taking classes at the local community college as he devises a way to escape the accounting major his father chose for him.
When Lou offers to show Nick around, heat flares between them as they realize they have more in common than domineering families. But it’s not all fun and games on the boardwalk. Hurricane Sandy blows ashore, changing the place Nick was starting to think of as home. His peace is shattered, and it will take everything he has to keep his relationship with Lou from being torn apart by the storm brewing around them.
States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.
Guest post with CC Bridges...
Hi everyone. I'm CC Bridges, and thank you for having me here today to celebrate my new release "Love in the Time of Hurricanes."
I wanted to talk a little bit about my writing process for this book, in particular the opening scene. When writing, I usually start with an image, or a scene that flashes to life inside my brain. Sometimes that's all I have, and it takes a while for things like characters and plot to show up.
That's exactly what happened here. I had the opening scene for "Love in the Time of Hurricanes" long before I knew what was going to happen in the rest of the story. And when I say "long" I mean, like a few years.
I knew Lou was a cook at an Italian pizzeria. I knew he wanted to be a chef someday. The image I had was of a stranger walking in one night after the pizza shop had closed, looking for something to eat. Lou – long before I named him Lou – shares his own dinner with the guy, rich tomato gravy and warm Italian bread. I could smell the way the spices filled the air, the warmth of the garlic and richness of the oregano. In my mind the gravy tasted just like my Grandmother's version – a bit spicy, with flakes of red pepper.
As you can see, food is very important in this story.
The rest of the tale – who was the stranger and just why he stopped at Lou's pizzeria – took a little longer to figure out.
And that story – of who Nick is, and why exactly he wandered into that pizza shop – is the story of Love in the Time of Hurricanes. I hope you enjoy it!
To celebrate, I'm giving away a $10 gift certificate to Dreamspinner Press.
There was something about the darkness of night with the lights in the distance as I traveled over the bay that made it, well, not quite scary. I’m not twelve. Maybe a little eerie.
I hadn’t realized how quiet it would get out here after the tourists left. That was why I’d decided to stay in the first place. I needed some peace and quiet to get my head back on straight. What did they say about making assumptions? Yeah, totally made an ass out of me.
I made it over the bridge safely and remembered to zig instead of zag to avoid going into Seaside Park. The lights on the boulevard had turned into blinking oranges and reds, and I navigated them quickly. Devon’s parents’ house had a driveway that I took full advantage of. The meters on the streets still ran through October, and it was only the beginning of September.
I walked down to the beach instead of going on up to bed. Even though I could hear the waves from my bedroom, there was something about standing on the boardwalk and staring off into the horizon. Right now many of the arcades were still open, but soon they’d shut down the rides and cart them away to be safe for the winter. I was the only person on the boardwalk at the moment.
It wasn’t completely quiet, but I could shut out the lights and sounds and watch the ocean.
What the hell was I doing here? I was sure when I signed the leave of absence papers that I didn’t want to go back to RU. I needed a break, and taking the house made sense when Devon told me his parents hadn’t found any winter renters yet. I’d stay here, take some classes at the community college, and figure out what to do with my life.
Because I sure as hell didn’t want to go back to my accounting classes. I felt sick at the thought—no shit, I’d get nauseous and my hands would get cold and clammy. I’d even gone to the counselor at school about it. That hadn’t helped much.
I had to get my crap together. Somehow.
I shouldn’t be thinking about the guy at the pizzeria. I shouldn’t be fantasizing about his buff arms and gentle eyes. I shouldn’t be standing here wondering what he’d taste like if I could lick the scruff of his chin.
Hell, I wasn’t even sure he was gay. I didn’t exactly have the best track record for that kinda thing. Spent too many years hiding to be open now.
Maybe I’d stop in for pizza tomorrow.
CC Bridges is a mild-mannered librarian by day, but by night she writes about worlds of adventure and romance. When she's not busy solving puzzles in an escape room, she can be found diving into comics or binge-watching superhero movies. She writes surrounded by books, spare computing equipment, a fluffy dog, and a long-suffering husband in the state of New Jersey. In 2011, she won a Rainbow Award for best gay sci-fi/futuristic novel.
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