Series: Saugatuck #1
on May 17, 2014
Genres: M/M, New Adult
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One summer can change everything
Hi, I’m Topher Carlisle: twenty-one, pretty, and fabulous. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself. But let’s get real. Walking the fake-it-til-you-make-it road to independence and self-respect isn’t easy. Especially since my mom’s a deadbeat alcoholic, and most of my family expects me to turn out just as worthless. Oh, and I’m close to losing my college swimming scholarship, so let’s add “dropout” to the list.
My BFF has invited me to stay at her beach house on the shore of Lake Michigan. That’ll give me one summer to make money and figure out what I want to do with my life. So of course I decide to have an affair with my BFF’s married, closeted dad. Because that always works out.
Now I’m homeless, friendless, jobless. Worthless. Just like my family expects, right? Except there’s this great guy, Jace, who sees it differently. He’s got it all together in ways I can only dream of—he’s hot, creative, insightful, understanding. He seems to think I don’t give myself enough credit. And if I don’t watch out, I may start to believe him.
Hi, and welcome to the Saugatuck Summer blog tour! Thank you so much to The Book Nympho for having me today!
For those of you who have seen me talking about it on social media for the last nearly year and a half, you know that Saugatuck Summer was a labor of love far beyond what I would normally claim for one of my books. Of course I love them all, but Saugatuck Summer came from my very soul. Actually, I’m not certain it came from me at all.
Basically, here’s what happened: One day I was driving along, running errands, and Topher Carlisle whispered one line of dialogue in my ear. Just one. When I asked him what I was supposed to do with that, he promptly took over my brain for fifteen absolutely insane days and at the end I had the first draft of Saugatuck Summer.
Topher’s story of recovery, hope, making mistakes, and growing up just told itself, and the experience of being the conduit for that was at times grueling and heartbreaking, but also euphoric and wonderful. It was one of those experiences that, as a creator of some form of art, be it musical, visual, or literary, you have once or twice in a lifetime if you’re extraordinarily lucky, when you know you’re creating something magical. I’m not sure it will ever happen to me again, but I feel absolutely blessed that this book has come of it.
This week on the Saugatuck Summer blog tour, I’ll be sharing some bonus content from the book and a sneak peek at another upcoming book in the Saugatuck universe. I’ll also be having a heart-to-heart discussion with Marie Sexton about our experiences as adult children of alcoholics and how they translated into writing our ACOA characters from Saugatuck Summer and Family Man, giving you a peek at some of “Jace’s” art, and I’ll be sharing the official Saugatuck Summer soundtrack from a brilliant singer/songwriter of my personal acquaintance, Casey Stratton.
And finally, all week long I’ll be asking trivia questions from Saugatuck Summer and this week’s blog tour articles, and each correct answer emailed to me offers you a chance to win your choice of any of my backlist titles!
So put on your sunscreen and let’s go!
Today I’ve come to share a scene from the middle of Saugatuck Summer. Topher has ended his affair with Brendan, his BFF’s father, but he hasn’t yet come clean about it. Now Jace, the artist with whom he had a one-night-stand a couple months ago, is back and he still has his eye on Topher. And poor Topher is stuck at a 4th of July cookout with both Brendan and Jace at the same time.
I was just about to grab the pitcher of sangria off the island counter when the French doors leading out to the deck opened and Jace stepped in, squinting as his eyes adjusted.
“Hi, Jace!” Mo beamed at him, obviously still delighted he was here, despite my ambivalence. “Need anything?”
“Directions to the washroom?” he replied with that omnipresent grin. He really didn’t know how to not have a good time, did he?
Mo pointed. “Around the corner, there.” She snagged the pitcher of sangria almost out from under my hand. “Can you get the fruit plate out of the fridge, Topher? It’s kinda packed in there; you might need to dig pretty deep for the fruit dip.”
“Sure.” I was still too grateful for her love and friendship; however unworthy I was of it, to smell the obvious setup until after she was gone.
I smiled tremulously at Jace and then hid in the refrigerator, hauling out the platter of berries and sliced fruit before diving back in to find the fruit dip. What kind of fruit dip, anyway? Did she mean the store-bought caramel kind for apples or a bowl of homemade whipped-cream-based fluff, or something else entirely?
I knew the hand on the small of my back instantly, like it was the most familiar thing in the world. It might have been a high-voltage wire for the way electricity shot through me.
“Dollars to doughnuts there’s no fruit dip,” he murmured behind me.
Would Mo do that to me not five minutes after I’d asked her not to push me at anything?
Fucking A. Of course she would. I was the fruit dip, apparently.
I backed out of the fridge, hanging my head with a sigh. “For Mo, that was extremely subtle.”
“She’s got a gift.” Jace leaned against the counter beside the fridge with his arms across his chest, looking me over. “How are you, Topher?”
“Good. Good. Fine. How have you been?” I retreated a few paces, mirroring his posture against the island chopping block opposite him.
“I’ve been good. Really good, in fact, though I’m wondering if you would rather I weren’t here.”
“What?” I blinked rapidly. “Why would I— Why would you think that?”
The corner of his mouth quirked up in a wry smile. “Because this is the first time you’ve met my eyes since I arrived, and if I were a vampire, you’d be thrusting garlic and a cross at me right now.”
He didn’t look offended or insulted. As always, he looked amused. So much so that I couldn’t help but hang my head and chuckle a little.
“I’m sorry. I just wasn’t expecting to ever see you again. I assumed you were some tourist passing through, not a regular visitor.”
He shrugged. “I pretty much thought the same about you. That doesn’t explain why you’re so flinchy, though. Are you involved with someone now? Do you have a policy of not doing repeat engagements? One-night stands aren’t welcomed back?”
“What? No!” Jesus, did he really think I was so crass?
“If you do, that’s cool. People have their boundaries. I won’t step on them; I just need to know what they are.”
“It’s nothing like that,” I quickly assured him, unfolding my arms to rest my hands on the counter on either side of my hips.
“I’m not like that.”
He let his posture relax, too. “Good. Because I’m glad to see you again. I’d been wondering how you were.”
“I’m . . . um . . .” I hummed thoughtfully, tipping my head back and closing my eyes. “To be honest, and for reasons I really don’t want to get into, I’m not doing quite as well as I was last time you were here.”
“I can tell.” I opened one eye to peer across at him. “If I met you on the beach today, I wouldn’t try to pick you up.”
“Ouch.” That stung my vanity a bit. I might be having issues, but that didn’t mean I wasn’t still pretty.
He gave an unapologetic shrug. “That isn’t the same as saying I wouldn’t try to convince you to have a cup of coffee with me and get to know you, see what’s eating you.”
“Wow. First Robin, now you.” I shook my head. “Don’t worry. I’m hoping for an improvement.”
“Actually, Robin’s saved me the effort of worrying.” That ready grin made another appearance. “Knowing him, he has the sympathetic ear and well-meaning advice angle covered, so maybe I can just coax you to let it go and have fun with me for an evening.”
I couldn’t help but grin back. “That sounds awesome, but I’m kind of already committed. Barbecue. Fireworks. You know.”
“I wasn’t inviting you back to my room.” He cocked his head in a quick, offhand shrug. “Yet. But that guy at the beach? The one I danced with? The one I spoke to by the pool? You think he might want to come out and play for a bit?”
God, that sounded good. Jace and I had fallen into such easy, effortless sync that night of my birthday. Flirting. Teasing. Talking with the sort of comfort that came with much longer acquaintance. I would love to feel that way again—alive and wild and carefree. I didn’t think I’d relaxed completely since Memorial Day, when everything had gone crazy.
If not for Brendan, I would do it.
“I can try.” I ducked my head. “Things are a little weird for me today, so I might get tense once in a while, but I can try.”
“Excellent.” He grabbed the fruit platter and tipped his head toward the French doors. “Let’s take this outside. I think the burgers are ready. Then I can tell you all about me until you’re ready to talk about yourself again.”
HOW TO WIN YOUR CHOICE OF ANY SINGLE BOOK FROM MY BACKLIST (all-in-one volumes not included):
At each stop along the blog tour I’ll be asking a trivia question from Saugatuck Summer. Yes, this means some familiarity with the book is required, whether you purchase a copy, have an ARC, or employ the Kindle or B&N lending programs. If you visit some of the other blog tour stops, you might also find the answer in some of the excerpts.
PLEASE DO NOT ANSWER IN THE COMMENTS. Instead, send the answer to me privately by using this contact form. Each response will enter you into the drawing and three winners will be picked. The more questions you answer, the more entries you get. You can choose from any of the following titles:
Inertia (Impulse, Book One)
Acceleration (Impulse, Book Two)
Velocity (Impulse, Book Three)
The Laird’s Forbidden Lover
An Inch at a Time (The Professor’s Rule #2)
Inch by Inch (The Professor’s Rule #3)
Every Inch of the Way (The Professor’s Rule #4)
To the Very Last Inch (The Professor’s Rule #5)
(Note: Giving an Inch (The Professor’s Rule #1) is already available free at Riptide, and my pre-Saugatuck novella, The Field of Someone Else’s Dreams, is available for free at Amazon, All Romance eBooks, and elsewhere.)
Again, please do not post your answer in the comments, but submit it to me privately.
To give people time to read and respond, the contest will remain open for one month after the release of Saugatuck Summer. It will close on June 19, and the drawing will be held on June 20.
Today’s Saugatuck Summer trivia question:
Chapter 24, what body mod does Topher decide to get?
I also love to talk about books. There’s nothing more exciting than to finish a great story and cover it A to Z with other people, exploring different perspectives and points of view. So, if you see something on my shelf you’d like to talk about, send me a message and we’ll talk!
Friend me at Goodreads.