Hello friends! Today I’m excited to be part of the Cover Reveal blog tour for two awesome authors. One author, Deanna Wadsworth, is a long-time friend of mine, and now a co-author with me as well. The other author, Wendy Burke, is a wonderful and funny woman I’ve had the pleasure to meet in person several years ago, and keep up with on Facebook. She’s a great writer, and I’m so happy to be part of her release blog tour.
Both of these books, Braving the Deep End by Deanna Wadsworth and Known & Wanted by Wendy Burke, are part of Decadent Publishing’s 1Night Stand line. You’ll find blurbs, buy links, and excerpts all below. Congratulations on your new releases Deanna and Wendy! I wish you both many sales and glowing reviews. <3
Braving the Deep End
by Deanna Wadsworth
State Trooper Mike Martin considers himself straight. Until the day he met the sexy southern charmer Beau Abernathy. Mike’s world froze the first time he saw Beau climb from the pool at his local gym, leaving him thunderstruck. He’s never experienced such lucid thoughts, or the chill of desire for another man—did this mean he was gay?
As their friendship grows, so does Mike’s concern. What if Beau kisses him and he doesn’t like it? Beau is too important to Mike to just be a sexual experiment. Worried if he’s even physically able to be intimate with a man—it’s one thing to imagine, but another to act on it—Mike enlists the help of Madame Eve a no-strings gay sex-ed lesson. But Mike gets far more than he bargained for with his romantic weekend getaway. Will Mike be brave enough to face his desires and dive in the deep end, or will Beau’s dark secret destroy what they could become?
Dear Madame Eve,
My name is Mike. I’m twenty-four years old, and I’m straight.
Well, I used to think so anyway.
Since I’m not the sort of guy who posts a random “needs advice” question on Reddit, I’m seeking your professional dating advice.
Life advice, actually.
There’s this girl—isn’t that how all stories start? LOL
Ryleigh’s been one of my best friends since high school. A couple of months ago, we both found ourselves single, and I was depressed after witnessing something unspeakable. After talking late into the night over too many beers, we hooked up. It became a regular thing for a short while, but I ended it for various reasons.
First, I think we’re better off as friends.
Second, she was getting serious, and I don’t want a relationship with her.
I’ll get to the third and biggest reason in a moment.
When I told her sex had been a mistake, she didn’t take it well. We haven’t spoken since, and I fear our friendship is finished. I still don’t know how to process it.
Now for the real reason I cut off things with Ryleigh.
There’s also this guy—and that’s not the way my stories usually start.
The first time I saw him, he was swimming laps at my gym. The gym isn’t a pickup place for me. I work out, and I leave. However, I couldn’t help but notice this guy. I’ve been an avid swimmer most of my life, and I know a natural when I see one. He was effortless in the water.
Then he got out of the pool.
Suddenly, I was watching one of those high-end perfume commercials where the guy gets out of the Mediterranean and every drop of water travels the contours of his muscles in slow-mo.
Something happened to me—and no, I didn’t sprout a boner in the pool area. But the whole world seemed to freeze, and I couldn’t breathe, couldn’t think. I stared at him, though gaped is probably a more accurate description. My heart pounded so loud, I swore he would hear it. I was literally thunderstruck.
It was the purest, most intensely clear moment of my life.
I’ve heard about moments like that, read about them in books, but I’d never experienced one.
After he left the pool area, I swam about hundred laps in a failed attempt to forget the way he made my blood sing but only ended up being late to work.
Oh yeah, I’m a state trooper. I spend every day surrounded by law enforcement. Men’s men, if you will. Can you imagine how unwelcome these thoughts are while living in a world drenched in testosterone and inflated masculinity?
I didn’t want to think about another man sexually.
Yet, the next day, I found myself arriving earlier at the gym, hoping to see him before he got into the pool. Maybe walk in together, hear his voice, or learn his name.
It’s Beau, by the way.
And yes, when he told me, I grinned like a fool and said, “Cool name,” even as I thought, what a cool guy. I didn’t even know him yet! How lame is that?
Turns out, Beau gets to the gym ten minutes before it opens, and he’s always the first customer in the door. Guess who’s now the second?
I didn’t spy on him in the locker room, but I wanted to. Damn it all, I really wanted to. But he’s a big guy—much bigger than me—so I had to show some discretion. I did delay putting on my suit in order to walk to the pool at the same time though. When we met in the doorway, he’d flashed me a smile that made my stomach actually flutter, which has never happened before.
“We keep meeting like this,” he said with a sweet Southern twang.
I melted. I think he was flirting with me.
Anyway, we chatted about swimming. We both were on the swim team in high school and he swam competitively in college. Now we swim to stay in shape. Then we each took a lane in the pool. I wanted to time my laps to end with his, but it would’ve been too obvious, and I didn’t want to be late for work again. After my swim, I watched his beautiful form cut through the water, hoping he would notice I’d finished, maybe turn and smile at me again. He didn’t, of course, too intent on his perfect breast stroke.
I’ve seen him almost every day since. We’ve taken to racing each other in the pool. He’s a far better swimmer, but I’ve bested him a few times. I think we’re flirting. He touches my arm when he talks to me, leans close when I’m telling him something. When I mentioned the tattoo sleeving his arm—a forest scene of rich green that complements his hazel eyes—he let me get close and admire the details. He smells magnificent. Once, I was brave enough to quickly squeeze his biceps and say, “These can’t all be from swimming.” He laughed and playfully jabbed me in the stomach.
It felt amazing.
He’s never said if he’s gay or not, but I think he likes me. Maybe he’s waiting for me to make the first move. Maybe his friendliness is just Southern charm, and I’m reading into it all.
Our friendship progressed from chitchat to getting a drink at the juice bar after a swim. Then we swapped numbers, and now we’re texting. Nothing serious, just casual texts about TV shows we like. A few weeks ago, we started going out for breakfast.
Are these dates?
I have no idea.
I like Beau. A lot. He’s cool, and he’s fun. Seeing him or talking to him is the highlight of my day. We never run out of things to talk about. No awkward silences. But am I capable of being more than a friend?
Could I kiss another man?
Honestly, the thought of kissing him terrifies me to my core because what if I liked it? Would that mean I’m gay? Bisexual? Maybe sexuality is fluid and it’s just Beau who makes me feel this way.
I want to pursue my attraction to him, but then I remember how sex ruined a lifelong friendship with Ryleigh. His friendship has become very important to me, and I don’t want to mess it up. I mean, what if he kisses me and I don’t like it? I couldn’t live with myself if I hurt him in any way.
I don’t want to live with regrets. I want to be the kind of man who goes after what I want.
Yet, I can’t just allow Beau to be a sexual experiment.
He’s thirteen years older than me—which isn’t a big deal—but I assume he’s much more experienced in the bedroom than I am.
What if I’m a disappointment to him? Worse, what if I freak out when things get physical and change my mind? Or regret it all in the morning? What if I’m so awkward and inexperienced he laughs at me?
We’re both rather competitive men, and I don’t think I could face him ever again if any of those things happened.
I need to test the waters. First, to see if I’m even physically able to be intimate with a man—it’s one thing to imagine but another to act on it. And second, I’d like to know what I’m doing so I don’t embarrass myself. What if I’m no good at it?
I can’t use hookup apps or go to local gay bars because everyone knows my family in this town, which is much smaller than it appears. After all, what if this attraction is a phase and doesn’t stick? If I change my mind, I won’t be able to stop rumors, and that could make my life at work a living hell. And for what? One night of sexual experimentation?
Madame Eve, would you please set me up with a nice guy to help me? Let him read this letter so he understands I don’t want strings, and I don’t want anyone to get hurt. I just need to figure out who I am and what I want. If this works, then maybe things with Beau could develop into something more. I can’t risk losing his friendship to find out.
Thank you in advance for your help.
Braving the Deep End Preorder Links
Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/39Zsm5C
Known & Wanted
by Wendy Burke
Zoe Zimmerman wants to stay out of the spotlight, but years in media and her iffy choices in men has made that a difficult task. Jilted, heartbroken and left in the dust by those she thought loved her, she’s excited and terrified with a gift from her best friend, a 1Night Stand encounter. She hopes to find a connection and a weekend of no-strings-attached adult fun with a man who admires her for who she is and not her past.
Eli Martin is well-known and well-liked. He’s accustomed to taking care of people—his three children, the residents of Birch County as elected Sheriff, and anyone else who may need a helping hand. Regardless of his good looks and stunning personality, his high-profile position means the widower can’t go trolling for a night of sex. When a 50th birthday present from Madame Eve arrives, Eli is greeted with the perfect opportunity to salve his lonely heart.
What neither Eli or Zoe expect is to meet one another—although their jobs provided opportunities for corresponding and phone-flirting for nearly a decade, they’ve never met in person. Will Madame Eve’s magic do its trick or will Zoe’s insecurities and a bullet end it all before they realize they’re known and wanted…and in love.
Unaccustomed to sitting at bar, Eli filled his time waiting for his date by contemplating is bizarre adventure gifted to him and, as the norm in his profession, making a study of those around him.
A woman in a corner booth caught his eye. She chatted on the phone, laughing with someone. Probably the man she came here to meet. He kept a covert eye on her, if only for his own curiosity and entertainment.
Her pixie-ish, hair style seemed to ooze melted dark chocolate, swirled with caramel and cherry. Even in the somewhat dim light of the bar, he could tell she wore little makeup. She doesn’t need it.
His training and experience taught him to observe everything, including little nuances which told him, despite her outward happiness, uncertainty and nerves had her on edge.
He looked into his beer, the mental self-flagellation he thought he’d tamped down and dismissed, winked at him from the remaining yeasty foam.
This arrangement seemed perfect for his circumstance, private, consensual, anonymous. He couldn’t go out on a Saturday night for a ‘hook up’ for a myriad of reasons. Due to the nature of his position, on-call meant 24/7/365 and his constituents frowned on drunken, carousing county leadership. And being an elected and sworn officer of the State, he honored the trust Birch County residents had given him and his oath to them and the State of Ohio. And, like his kids said, ‘Everyone knows you, Dad.’
You’re slacking, Martin. You never saw her coming. The woman from the corner booth stood next to him at the bar.
“Sheriff Martin? What a surprise.”
“I’m sorry….” Don’t know who you are, but wouldn’t mind getting to know you.
“No, really, I’m sorry,” she chuckled.
What an adorable laugh.
“We talk on the on the phone all the time, but have never really met.” She put out her hand, “Zoe—Zoe Zimmerman from Channel 8.”
Wow, I had no idea you’d be quite this cute. He rose from his seat. “Zoe, well, what a pleasure.” He shook her hand, taking in her impish smile and bright green eyes. “Have a seat. After all these years, let me buy you the beer we always talked about.”
He’d been phone pals with this local television station—What the hell does she do there, anyway? —producer, reporter, assignment manager, jack-of-all-media-trades for more years than he could remember. Always pleasant, with a constant exuberance in her voice, he welcomed calls from her. Although information she needed, or he needed disseminated eventually got traded, more often than not their playful banter many times was laced with friendly, subtle sexual undertone.
“I’m sorry,” Zoe said. “I’m actually waiting for someone.” A chime sounded from the pocket of her fitted, navy blue blazer. “Oh, excuse me.” She turned a bit away from him, checking her cell.
At the same time, Eli’s phone rumbled on the bar top. He took a sip of beer and touched the screen. Your date, the text read. Eli glanced about the bar, curious if someone spied on him, or if this ethereal Madame Eve had covert operatives stationed in the bar.
But when a second text came with an attached photo of the woman standing next to him, a grin lit his face and he mentally high-fived his great fortune.
When he turned to take a peek at his now-date, Zoe’s big green eyes were wide with shock.
She fumbled for words. “There must be some mistake.”
Known & Wanted Preorder links:
Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/3b2tEhv