Hi, and welcome to the Saugatuck Summer blog tour! First of all, I want to thank Brandon for hosting me again. One of my best memories of RainbowCon last month was the few minutes we got to talk when he extended the invitation. It’s been a while since I’ve appeared on his blog and I’m so happy to be back!
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’ll be sharing a scene from Chapter Twenty-One of Saugatuck Summer. After having a one-night-stand with Jace, who then left the vacation town of Saugatuck to go home, the protagonist Topher embarked on an affair with Brendan, his best friend’s father. Though the affair has ended, Topher is still struggling with the weight of his secret, and confessing isn’t an option unless he is willing to out Brendan against his will. To complicate things, Jace has returned, and Topher is trapped at a 4th of July cookout with both, torn between the attraction he feels toward Jace, and trying not to make things any more uncomfortable between himself and Brendan.
[Jace’s] fingers brushed my neck, and I couldn’t help by shiver. I stole a glance at Brendan, who was sitting with Adele and Mo on the other side of Robin, Geoff, and Ling (who was sitting in the only lawn chair). I bet Robin had arranged that division, or maybe Mo, to give me and Jace some relative seclusion with one another. Brendan was looking anywhere except at us. I didn’t know if he was avoiding looking at me, or if he just didn’t care. Still, I was once again off-kilter and self-conscious, so much so that I half figured Jace would pick up on my discomfort and back off.
He didn’t. If anything, he kept pushing harder, getting more handsy.
“What are you doing?” I murmured, turning my head toward him.
His mouth opened, but then I could see a flippant answer die unspoken upon his lips. His eyes sobered and he leaned close, pitching his voice low.
“I don’t like the way that married guy keeps looking at you whenever he thinks no one is paying attention. It creeps me out.”
“Oh.” I tensed and pulled away from his caressing hand. “Don’t—don’t do anything to make a scene, okay? Just play it low-key and we can talk about it later.”
His eyebrows shot up, and then his expressive face shuttered slightly. “O-kay. Sure.”
“Thank you,” I whispered, pleading for forgiveness and understanding with my eyes.
After a moment, he nodded, looking annoyed, and then I was let off the hook as the Powers That Be decided it was dark enough to cue up the national anthem as a prelude to starting the show. I stood with everyone else and sang along, and Jace was smiling again when we sat back down.
“You lied to me,” he murmured in my ear, so close his lips brushed my earlobe. He scooted closer to me on the blanket, so much so that his body pressed flush alongside mine.
“You said you were just an ‘okay’ singer.” His arm slipped around my waist, and he positioned himself slightly behind me, so that all I would have to do was relax to lean back against him. “And I’m beginning to suspect you’re a better actor than you cop to, as well.”
I ducked my head and therefore almost missed the first rocket. It erupted above us in a shower of green and white sparkles, the boom concussing our eardrums.
“Lean back on me,” Jace said in the silence afterward, barely doing more than whispering against my earlobe. “And pull your right knee up. Otherwise we might make a scene.”
“Wha—” My voice rose in alarm, but it was drowned out by the next explosion. I obeyed without thinking, leaning against the arm he had planted on the blanket behind my ass. Then I drew my right knee up toward my chest, creating a barrier between us and the rest of our party.
The deafening report of the next rocket to go up masked my squeak when his hand slipped into my lap.
“Oh God.” I gasped, trying to pretend nothing was happening. Nope, absolutely nothing weird about cuddling with a near stranger in the presence of my secret ex-lover. The pace of the detonations picked up, cloaking my gasps as the flat of his finger and then his palm rubbed up and down the crotch-seam of my jeans.
He brought me right to the quivering brink of blowing my load in my pants, then backed off, cupping his hand almost protectively over the bulge there, covering but not trying to stimulate.
“Here’s how it’s gonna be,” he growled in my ear between booms. “When this is over, we’re going back to my room, and I’m going to fuck you until you can’t remember your own name. Then, when you can form words of more than one syllable again and string them reliably together into sentences, you’re going to tell me what the hell is going on here. But get this straight in your head: I. Don’t. Hide. Not from anyone, not for any reason. I don’t care what’s going on; if you expect me to be with you, don’t even think of asking me to pretend I’m not. Got it?”
I nodded quickly, looking at him in some distress at the thought that he might believe I was asking him to be my secret. I hadn’t meant to do that. Had I? Or had I been putting my worry about Brendan’s theoretical hurt feelings at seeing us together above any consideration that Jace’s feelings might be hurt?
Fuck, I was an idiot. I hadn’t even put the words “Jace” and “feelings” in the same thought. I’d been treating Jace like a good-time guy with no real depth.
“I’m sorry,” I whispered, feeling very, very small under a massive wave of remorse. I knew then that if I pulled away from that arm he’d told me to lean on, we’d be done. He’d go back to Chicago and I’d never see him again. So instead I turned my face in toward him, letting my head rest against his shoulder.
After a moment, the arm behind me slipped around my waist, drawing me against him more fully.
I didn’t deserve it, just as I didn’t deserve Mo’s affection. But here we were, and I liked it, and there was nothing deceitful about accepting it from Jace, at least, because I knew I wasn’t going to mislead him like I was doing to Mo. I’d tell him everything.
Somehow I kept slipping a little lower every couple minutes, until by the time the fireworks display hit its grand finale, I was lying with my head on Jace’s thigh and his fingertips gently scratching my scalp. Each explosion vibrated in his quadriceps. I still didn’t want Brendan to be hurt, but the fact was, Brendan’s feelings needed to stop being a variable in the calculus of my decision-making. He’d chosen his path just as I had mine, and I wasn’t responsible for rectifying everything for him any more than I was responsible for doing it for my mother. I wasn’t with him anymore and I would never, ever be with him again. I had to move past thinking of him as a part of my life. I still wouldn’t out him unless I had no other choice, but beyond that, he was on his own.
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 17, whose couch does Topher end up sleeping on?
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.
Be sure to check out the Saugatuck Summer soundtrack by singer/songwriter Casey Stratton!
Amelia C. Gormley may seem like anyone else. But the truth is she sings in the shower, dances doing laundry, and writes blisteringly hot m/m erotic romance while her son is at school. When she’s not writing in her Pacific Northwest home, Amelia single-handedly juggles her husband, her son, their home, and the obstacles of life by turning into an everyday superhero. And that, she supposes, is just like anyone else.
Her self-published novel-in-three-parts, Impulse (Inertia, Book One; Acceleration, Book Two; and Velocity, Book Three) can be found at most major online book retailers, and be sure to check Riptide for her latest releases, including her Highland historical, The Laird’s Forbidden Lover, the The Professor’s Rule series of erotic novelettes (co-written with Heidi Belleau), the post-apocalyptic romance, Strain, and her upcoming, New Adult contemporary, Saugatuck Summer, available now.