Eli Easton Author of m/m romance books and stories
Browsing all posts in: In the Pipeline

Spring Catch-up

May 8

Hi, everyone! I hope your spring has been as beautiful and exciting as mine has been. I wanted to “decloak” my typical invisibility garb (sigh) and give you an update on what I’ve been writing and what you can expect and when.

LATEST RELEASE

My last book published is “Snowblind” from Dreamspinner in Feb 2017. It’s a romantic suspense story, sort of spy vs spy, with some steamy snowed-in hyjinks in a cabin in Alaska and then quite a lot of suspense action!  The plot has a lot of twists and turns. “Snowblind” is also out now in audio. Click below to see my page with links and excerpts.

FIVE DARES

This full-length novel was written in Jan-Feb and is a contemporary NA with bffs becoming something more. Andy and Jake are pretty much nuts. They love doing dares and stunts. They’re just graduating from NYU and are about to go their separate ways for the first time in their lives. At their graduation party, Andy pulls one dare too many. It leads he and Jake to spend the summer in Andy’s family cottage in Nantucket recuperating from bad burns to their palms. Two risk-taking, hormone-fueled guys alone all summer without the use of their hands. What could go wrong?

The boys in my story were inspired, physically, by my favorite TV show of last year, Eyewitness. This title will be published by Riptide in the fall.

TENDER MERCIES

I just finished writing book #2 in the Men of Lancaster County series. Book #1 was “A Second Harvest” and I was thrilled that it won Best Contemporary in the Rainbow Awards last year.  “Tender Mercies” can be read as a stand-alone and is about an entirely new couple but set in the same area. Here’s the temporary blurb:

Eddie Graham had a dream to create a sanctuary for rescued farm animals. When his long-time partner dumps him just before their move to Lancaster County, Eddie is stuck with a 25-acre property to manage and big bills to pay on half the income he anticipated. He fears his dream has failed before it even got started. He needs help, and he needs money, but most importantly, he needs to find his power to believe again.

Samuel Miller worked hard all his life to fit into his Amish community despite being born with a club foot. But when his father learns Samuel is secretly gay, he is whipped and shunned. Alone, with just a few hundred dollars to his name, Samuel is desperate for a job and a place to stay. He responds to an ad for a farmhand and finds himself employed by a city guy who has strange ideas about animals and no clue how to run his small farm.

Tender Mercies is currently under review at Dreamspinner, but will hopefully be coming out in the fall as well. Below is an image that inspired my idea of what Samuel looks like (only, ya know, Amish).

HOWL AT THE MOON #4

I just started working on Howl at the Moon #4. This will be a self-pub, so I hope to get it out in June.

Personal Stuff

A few weeks ago, my husband and I attended my step-daughter’s wedding. She’s been a true daughter to me since I’ve been in her life since she was two-and-a-half years old. It was a gorgeous wedding in Marin County, CA and so romantic!

That’s all for this update. Have a wonderful May.

Eli

“Falling Down” — new release coming Nov 9

November 6

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I have a new release coming up fast! I wanted to write a quick fall-themed novella to self-pub this fall, and I started working on the idea during the UK Meet trip while walking in the Cotswolds. But my heroes, Josh and Mark, had too much of a story to tell for it to be either quick or a “little novella”. So here we are, 69K words later, just squeaking the book out for kind-of-sort-of still fall on Nov 9.

It’s probably the angstyist book I’ve written but it has sweet moments and, of course, a happy ending. There will be a trigger warning on it for suicidal thoghts. Here’s the info:

BLURB:

Josh finds himself homeless at eighteen, but he has a plan. He’ll head north on the bus to New England and spend October there for his mother’s sake. She always talked about going to see the fall leaves someday. And when the leaves are done and the harsh winter comes, Josh plans to find a place to curl up and let go. It will be a relief to finally stop fighting.

Mark spent his life trying to live up to the tough swagger of his older brothers until he pushed himself so far against his nature that he cracked. Now a former Marine, he rents a little cabin in the White Mountains of New Hampshire where he can lick his wounds and figure out what to do with the rest of his life. One thing was clear: Mark was nobody’s hero.

Fate intervenes when Josh sets up camp under a covered bridge near Mark’s cabin. Mark recognizes the dead look in the young stranger’s eyes, and he feels compelled to do something about it. When Mark offers Josh a job, he never expected that he’d be the one to fall.

The snow is coming soon. Can Mark convince Josh that the two of them can build a life together before the flurries begin?

GOODREADS LINK:

Here it is on Goodreads.

GIVEAWAY AND FIRST EXCERPT:

You can read the first chapter and enter a giveaway here.

WHERE YOU CAN GET IT:

The book will be Kindle Unlimited for the first 90 days, then on all platforms including ARE and Barnes & Nobel. It isn’t up for pre-orders, but will be available on Nov 9.

Eli

What’s Coming Next?

March 29

Someone on facebook reminded me that I should update you all on what’s in the queue for me.

Apr/May 2016 — “How to Wish Upon a Star”, (aka Howl at the Moon #3) 

With MCs Dr. Jason Kunik, a third-generation quickened and genetic researcher, and Milo, a hospice dog who just recently became quickened.

I’m finishing this up and will self-pub, so it will be out quickly!

Jun 2016 — “A Second Harvest”, from Dreamspinner Press

This is the first book of a new series called “Men of Lancaster County”, but each book will also be stand-alone. This book is a May/Dec romance and features a widowed Mennonite farmer and the young gay man who moves in next door. I’m in final edits and have a cover now. Whoot!

August 2016 — “The Land of Milk and Honey”, from Penguin

This is the sequel to “Kingdom Come” and the second book in my Amish murder mystery series (written under Jane Jensen)

Nov 2016 — my Christmas novella for 2016

TBD

There will be more out in 2016 but the exact titles and dates are still unknown.

Eli

“The Stolen Suitor” on Amazon, ARE, etc

January 18

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“The Stolen Suitor” comes out Feb 1 and you can how pre-order on Amazon  and ARE.

Here’s the blurb:

His future was set until a thief stole his heart.

All of Clyde’s Corner, Montana, knows local dandy Chris Ramsey will marry Trix Stubben, young widow and heir to the richest ranch in the area. But one woman isn’t too keen on the idea. Mabe Crassen wants to get her hands on that ranch, so she sets her older son to court Trix, and her younger son, Jeremy, to distract Chris and lure him astray.

Jeremy Crassen thinks his mother’s scheme is crazy. But he wants desperately to go off to college, which Mabe will agree to—if he seduces Chris. How will shy, virginal, secretly gay Jeremy attract Chris, who seems determined to do the right thing and marry Trix? Jeremy can’t compete with a rich female widow. Or can he?

And an excerpt:

~ 2 ~

Chris was fixing a bulb in the twinkle lights above the coffee station when Jeremy Crassen strolled into the Merc.

The Merc, aka the Clyde’s Corner Mercantile, was the main source of groceries in town. They were small compared to the giant chain stores in the city, but big enough for Clyde’s Corner. Besides food, they carried beer, wine, liquor, and a small selection of the kinds of clothes a Montana working man or woman might need. And they were located plumb in the middle of Clyde Corner’s quaint, old town, Westerny Main Street. So the folks who worked in the store saw pretty much everyone in town on a regular basis and almost all the tourists too.

Except Jeremy Crassen. Chris gave him a second, appraising glance. He couldn’t recall seeing Jeremy in the Merc since he’d come in to buy penny candy or a pop when he was a kid. Still, Chris knew immediately who he was.

That thick, shiny, straight-as-sin, red-brown hair couldn’t belong to anybody but a Crassen. And Chris knew Eric Crassen fairly well. He came in often to buy beer and snacks. Eric was still as big, beautiful, and useless as he’d been in high school. Ergo, this had to be Jeremy, Eric’s younger brother. The last time Chris had seen him, Jeremy had been a ninth-grader—all elbows and knees and a huge mop of that red-brown hair. Chris remembered the long bangs that had covered Jeremy’s face like a shaggy dog, like the boy was hiding.

Well. Jeremy wasn’t hiding today. He wore that mahogany hair straight down, all one length, and well past his shoulders. The front was tucked neatly behind his ears, revealing a face that made Chris wonder why he’d ever hidden it in the first place. He had high, sharp cheekbones and large, even features. He was not as brutishly handsome as Eric. It took a longer appraisal to notice his looks. He was finer, more delicate, like china compared to earthenware.

Damn it. Chris had been looking at too many dinnerware catalogs lately. And that reminded him, he had to get those touristy mugs ordered for the store this week.

Jeremy glanced over at Chris, and Chris hurriedly looked down at the bulb and wire in his hands. He replaced two suspect bulbs before he dared look up again.

Jeremy was at the cold drink case, door open, perusing the contents.

He’d also grown into his limbs, Chris noted. He wore a beat-up leather jacket and jeans. He was tall, and his hips—visible as the jacket rose from him bracing an arm on the front case door—were narrow, yet with a tightly rounded—

Jeremy turned his head and looked right at Chris.

Chris choked on his spit, coughing like an idiot. He hurriedly went back to his bulbs and wire. Shit! Caught checking out Jeremy Crassen’s ass. Jeremy’d had an “aha!” look on his face too. Jerk-off. He was a Crassen, after all, and no doubt stupid and mean.

With a huff of self-disgust, Chris plugged in the twinkle lights and was unsurprised to see half the strand still wasn’t working. He’d deal with it later. He shoved the supplies under the coffee cupboard to get rid of them and walked toward the back room. He’d get Minola to come out and cover the register for Jeremy. He wasn’t—

“Hey.” A man’s voice, deep and smooth, spoke from close by, leaving no room to ignore it.

Chris turned and found Jeremy a mere few feet away. “Oh, hello. Can I help you?” Chris said it stiffly, and he frowned a little to let Jeremy know he wouldn’t put up with any bullshit.

Jeremy’s eyes were wide and innocent. “I was just looking for some cream, but, say, are you Chris? I heard you were back in town.” Jeremy smiled in a friendly manner.

“Oh, yeah, hey, um….”

“Jeremy Crassen.” Jeremy stuck out his hand, and Chris reluctantly took it. “I don’t blame you for not remembering me. I was a few years behind you in school.”

“Oh, right, I remember now.” Jeremy was being so nice, it seemed mean-spirited to continue to pretend he didn’t know who Jeremy was. “You’re Eric’s little brother. How are you?”

“Great,” Jeremy said, with another charming smile. “How about you? Are you back in town permanently? Going to take over the Merc from your old man?”

It was a fair question. It wasn’t Jeremy’s fault if Chris wasn’t quite ready for that commitment.

“Well, it’s what I’m doing for now anyway. My dad had knee surgery, so I’m helping my folks out. Say, let me show you where to find that cream.” Chris strode over to the milk case and opened the door, Jeremy trailing behind him. “We’ve got regular cream, organic whole cream, and half and, um, h-half….”

His tongue stumbled as he turned his head and fell headlong into Jeremy’s eyes.

Holy shit.

Eric was known for his blue eyes. The big stud had an honest-to-God dimpled chin and eyes the color of a deep blue sky, like some Disney hero. Women went nuts over those eyes. Eric had been a year ahead of Chris in school, and at the height of his teenaged hormones, Chris hadn’t been immune himself.

Jeremy’s eyes, however, were something else. They were a golden brown with a reddish cast, a few shades lighter than his hair and ten times as luminous in the light reflected from the cold case. Chris swallowed.

“Sure you don’t have any other kind of cream? In back, maybe?” Jeremy’s words were silky. His eyes dropped to Chris’s lips, then to his crotch.

Chris felt his face flame, and in the same instant, his cock start to swell. His goddamn blood was tag-teaming him.

Jeremy looked back up, his expression neutral, as if he hadn’t just…. Had he?

“Sorry, I was on my way to the back,” Chris said quickly. “For business. Have to take care of something. Excuse me. If you have any more questions, Minola can help you.” Chris jerked a nod of his head and fled.

 

 

“The Stolen Suitor” now available for pre-order!

December 16

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Big news! My novel “The Stolen Suitor” is set for release Feb 1, 2016 and is now available on the Dreamspinner “Coming Soon” page for pre-order!

This 70K novel is set in Clyde’s Corner, Montana, where my Christmas novella “A Prairie Dog’s Love Song” took place. It’s part of the new Dreamspun Desires line from Dreamspinner. This new line features 2 new books a month, each with a traditional category romance trope respun for m/m. You can get a subscription or buy books separately. All books will be available in paperback. Cool, huh? Check it out here.

Here’s the blurb for “The Stolen Suitor”

All of Clyde’s Corner, Montana, knows local dandy Chris Ramsey will marry Trix Stubben, young widow and heir to the richest ranch in the area. But one woman isn’t too keen on the idea. Mabe Crassen wants to get her hands on that ranch, so she sets her older son to court Trix, and her younger son, Jeremy, to distract Chris and lure him astray.

Jeremy Crassen thinks his mother’s scheme is crazy. But he wants desperately to go off to college, which Mabe will agree to—if he seduces Chris. How will shy, virginal, secretly gay Jeremy attract Chris, who seems determined to do the right thing and marry Trix? Jeremy can’t compete with a rich female widow. Or can he?

Eli

“How to Walk Like a Man” – Cover reveal & first excerpts!

October 26

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Yay! It’s taken some time to get my ducks in a row, but today is the cover reveal for “How to Walk Like a Man”, the sequel to “How to Howl at the Moon”!

The cover reveal is taking place on two blogs: The Novel Approach and My Fiction Nook. Each blog features a different excerpt.

1. The Novel Approach (CLICK HERE)— includes the first section in chapter 1 plus a giveaway of a $10 Amazon gift certificate.

2. My Fiction Nook (CLICK HERE)— includes the second section in chapter 1 plus a giveaway of a $10 Amazon gift certificate.

The book is available for pre-order here.  Release day is Nov 13!

I loved writing Roman’s story and I hope you like it as much as I do.

Eli

 

 

 

Audio Book City

September 9

I’ve had a spate of new audio books out this summer with more coming soon! I thought I’d say a little bit about them.

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“The Mating of Michael” audio book is narrated by Michael Stellman, who also read my audio book “A Prairie Dog’s Love Song”.  It’s a wonderful listen. I like the youthfulness of his voice and the way he conveys emotion.

Now available here.

TLATCaudio

“The Lion and the Crow”, read by Scott Richard Ehredt, is really a treat!  I just finished listening to it myself on my morning walks. Scott has a mature, rich British voice that gives the story heaps of gravitas.  He made the writing sound so wonderful! And I love all his character voices. Do try it!

Now available here.

COMING SOON

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“Unwrapping Hank” audio, performed by Jason Frazier, should hopefully be out by early October. It’s sounding awesome.

I hope to have Matthew Shaw read “How to Walk Like a Man” (the sequel to “How to Howl at the Moon”) and have that one out by early December too.

Listening to audio books has really helped me rack up the miles on my Fitbit. (Or does my Fitbit help me get through more audio books?) Hope you’ve enjoyed some good ones lately too!

Eli

 

 

 

 

First excerpt from “The Black Dog”!

April 12

Claw Cover

“Claw”, the third volume of the gothika anthology, is coming out Apr 13th!  I’ll have a blog post running on the DSP blog tomorrow, and in celebration I’m posting the first excerpt from my novella-length story, “The Black Dog”.  Here’s the blurb.

The Black Dog by Eli Easton
Constable Hayden MacLairty is used to life being dull around the tiny hamlet of Laide on the north Scottish coast. They get occasional tourists, “monster hunters” interested in the local legend of the Black Dog, but Hayden thinks that’s only a myth. A rash of sheep killings, a murdered hiker, huge footprints, and sightings of the Black Dog force Hayden to rethink the matter. With the help of Simon Corto, a writer from New York doing research for a book about the Black Dog, Hayden tries to figure out why the enormous hound is reappearing. Hayden finds himself strongly attracted to another person for the first time in his life. But between the danger stalking the hills, Simon’s inevitable return to New York, and Hayden’s mother’s illness, true love may be more of a phantom than the Black Dog.

CHAPTER 1:

“I’m tellin’ ye, it was the Black Dog. Now what the hell are ye gonna do about it, Hayden MacLairty?”

The dead sheep, all four of them, made a grisly spectacle on what remained of the green summer grass. All of them had their throats crushed and bloodied, and two had their stomachs torn open, too, inviting flies to the feast. Hayden couldn’t quite wrap his head around it.

There were no bears or wolves in Scotland. A vicious pet or zoo animal might have gotten loose. Or perhaps it was a pack of stray dogs that had gone rogue. But what would kill four sheep and not feed? The animals were not so much eaten as displayed.

Hayden knelt down by one of the disemboweled sheep, trying to get a closer look at its wound. It looked torn, as from claws or teeth, not cut with a knife.

“I’ll take ’em to the vet in Ullapool. See if he can tell me anythin’ about what done this.”

“I told ye what done this! It was the Black Dog!”

Hayden straightened up to his full height, not averse to using his size to shut up Dylan Mitchell. Dylan was one of many colorful characters in Hayden’s precinct. He drank, and he saw things, and normally Hayden could ignore his wild stories. But not today, not with four dead sheep.

“Now you listen here, Dylan. There ain’t no such thing as the Black Dog.”

“I seen it! Why, just two nights ago—”

“And whatever killed your sheep is real, not some supernatural phantom, and that means I’ve gotta catch it. I’m not likely to catch it if I’m wastin’ my time lookin’ for spooks.”

Dylan’s face clouded with anger. “Ye don’t never listen to me, Hayden. But I know what I saw. Seen that thing five times now, the first time when I was nigh on ten year old, and there weren’t no liquor involved then. And I drink plenty without seein’ the damn thing. When I see it, it’s because it’s there. So what’re ye gonna do about it, hey? I can’t afford to lose four head.”

“I’ll post watch for a couple of nights,” Hayden agreed reluctantly. “I’m not arguin’ with you. We gotta find this thing.” And if you didn’t get drunk as a lord every night, you could watch your land your own damn self.

“’Course we do! My sheep one night, maybe my wife the next…! I wanna know what yer gonna do about that monster.”

“Now, Dyl, it won’ do a lick of good to berate the man.” Laith Mitchell spoke up, thank heaven. She was a good woman with a heck of a lot more sense than her husband.

“How ’bout you?” Hayden asked her. “You seen any animal in these parts that might have done this?”

She shook her head regretfully. “No, Hayden. The O’Ryan’s lab goes wanderin’ from time to time, but he’s gentle as a kitten. Ain’t seen nothin’ else.”

Dylan glowered harder.

“Right, then. I’ll just load ’em up.” Not for the first time, Hayden wished he had a subordinate to give such menial work to. He spread out plastic bags in the back of his Land Rover that was marked with the cheery yellow and blue check of the Scottish police. Then he hauled the heavy, bloody sheep into the boot. He had to drive them over an hour each way to Ullapool. But anything that ever had to be done, Hayden did himself. He was the only constable in the small hamlet of Laide and its surrounds. He covered a territory of nearly a hundred miles square, and he himself was the entire breadth and width of the law here. He might call in help if there was real trouble, but not for sheep. And decidedly not for a phantom black dog.

 

 

It was nearly dark when Hayden got back to Laide. He passed the Black Dog pub. There was a strange car in the lot, a rental, so apparently Angus had tourists in. Hopefully, they were there for the night and not just a meal. It was a good day when Angus could let out one of his upstairs rooms.

Maybe Dylan would show up at the pub tonight and spout off about the Black Dog. Nothing like a little local color to give the monster-hunters that chill up the spine. The wild northern end of Scotland was popular with long-distance cyclists and the occasional hardy hiker. But the few who stopped in the tiny hamlet of Laide had the legend in mind.

Hayden sighed. How he’d love to put up his tired feet at the pub and have a pint. But he had other obligations.

 

 

At home, Hayden let himself in quietly. As always the house smelled sourly of camphor and rose water and cabbage.

“Hullo,” he said to Ruth as he entered the kitchen. “And hullo, Mom.” He kissed his mother on the top of her head, assessing her condition automatically. Her crazy thick black hair, shot through with gray, was freshly washed, a task Ruth only managed a few times a week. She was wearing a thick purple cardigan. It was a bit too small on her large frame, but it was clean. And she had on real trousers today—some old khakis—not PJ bottoms.

His mother looked up at him and smiled. “Hayden! Ruth made us supper. Isn’t that nice?”

It was a good day then. Deep inside, where fear gripped his stomach in greedy handfuls, the tension eased.

“That’s lovely, Mom. What’re we havin’, then?”

“Pot roast! Can’t you smell it? I’m surprised the whole town isn’t outside the door wantin’ to be let in. Smells delicious!”

Hayden swallowed and looked at Ruth. She shook her head a little. “I’ve got some baked chicken in the oven,” she said quietly.

His mom ignored Ruth, going on and on about the pot roast. He sighed. A year ago he would have chased that phantom. But he’d learned better. Even if he went out and got a pot roast now, and they cooked it right away, by the time it was done, his mother would have forgotten all about it. She’d pick at her food like she always did, taking a few bites, and then claiming she was stuffed and couldn’t manage another morsel. He had no idea why she wasn’t a skeleton by now.

“I’m sure it’ll be wonderful,” he said. “I’m starving. I’ll just go wash my hands, shall I?”

 

 

After dinner, his mother settled in to watch her programs on TV while Hayden helped Ruth with the dishes.

“What is it, Hayden?” Ruth asked, giving him a leery expression. “I know that face.”

He sighed. “Ah, Christ. I hate this.”

“Go on. Hemming and hawing won’ make it any easier.”

He bit his lip. “Dylan Mitchell lost four sheep last night. I’m thinking it’s a pack of dogs. Told him I’d watch out tonight. Our farmers can’t afford to be losin’ livestock.”

Ruth rinsed the dish soap from her hands and turned to face him. “Hayden, of course I’ll stay, but this is what I’ve been tellin’ ye. You can’t manage. You can be called out any time day or night with that job o’ yours. And she shouldna be left alone.”

The anxiety in Hayden’s stomach returned with a vengeance. Dear God, he’d be growing a family of ulcers in there. “I can’t afford to hire a nurse, even if she’d take to one. What am I supposed to do?”

“Well, you know what I think! One of those fancy brothers o’ yours should be helping out.”

He didn’t disagree with the general concept. It was the particulars that were the problem. Jamie and Loren were both taking graduate courses in London. Jackson, Levi, and Moby had jobs and families of their own to care for hundreds of miles from here. And Sam was on a ship somewhere with Her Majesty’s Navy.

They’d all gotten away from Laide. And Hayden, the youngest, was left the loser in the MacLairty game of musical chairs. Last one standing. Then he felt guilty. He wasn’t the one with dementia. He shouldn’t be whinging about his own troubles. Besides, he honestly had no desire to leave Laide.

“You know that’s not gonna happen,” Hayden said tightly. “And you know how she is. Last time that social welfare lady stopped by, Mom screamed bloody murder, and she didn’t calm down for days. She won’t abide a stranger.”

“I know,” Ruth said quietly. “Which is why I told my niece and her husband they could have my cottage for the summer. And why I’m gonna be bossy and tell you I’m movin’ into the spare room.”

It was so welcome and yet too much at the same time. Hayden leaned against the counter, light-headed with relief. “I canna ask you to do that. I can’t pay you for more hours, and it’s not fair to you. You have a life.”

Ruth gripped his hand. She had a lot of strength for an old lass. And the light in her fierce eyes made it clear there was no faltering in her faculties either. “I’ve had a life, and, God willing, I will have one again. But right now Becca needs me. And you need me. And she’s been my best friend since we were six year old, and that doesn’t stop because she can’t remember what year it is. Of course, I don’t want any more of your money, Hayden MacLairty.”

Hayden swallowed. “That’s… I don’t know how to thank you.”

Ruth smiled, but she still looked worried. “It’ll be a relief to be able to keep me eye on her, to tell you the truth. You’re a right bonny son, and no mother could ask more. But if you ain’t workin’ nights, you sleep like the dead, and don’t think I don’t know it.”

“Hayden!” His mom called from the other room.

“Thank you, Ruth. Really.” His throat felt thick with gratitude.

Ruth snorted. “Yes. I’m sure any healthy young man would be itchin’ to live with two old crones. Go on, then. See what she wants.”

Hayden went into the living room. His mother waved frantically at the TV screen.

“Hayden, look at that dog! Isn’t he the cutest thing!”

Hayden sat on the arm of his mother’s recliner and took her hand. “He’s sweet, isn’t he?”

“You’ve asked and asked for a dog, but you know how your father feels about it. Maybe this Christmas, if you get that A in Maths. Do you think you could do that, lad?”

“Sure, Ma. I can do that.” His father had been gone for ten years, and Hayden had been out of school far longer. He often wondered how his mother could look at him and see a teenager instead of a man just turned thirty-two. But her misfiring brain had its own rhyme and reason.

Becca frowned. “I had a dog once. His name was Bandi. Did I ever tell you?”

Hayden rubbed her cold hands. “No, Ma. Tell me about Bandi.”

“He was a German shepherd. Used to sleep right by my bed. And he’d follow me to school. And I’d say ‘Thank you, Bandi! Now go on home!’ when we got there.”

“Uh-huh.”

“And do you know what happened to that dog? He got into the neighbor’s chicken coop and ate a chicken. Oh, did Pa gave him what for! Lord, Hayden. But Bandi, he’d got a taste for it, ye ken. And he wouldn’t stop. So Pa took a rifle and put him down.” There were no tears in her eyes, but her voice got soft. “Ma said Bandi ran away, but the neighbor’s son told me the truth. Pa shot him.”

“I’m sorry, Mom,” Hayden said, like he always did.

“Oh, look! It’s Bette Davis. Isn’t she lovely!”

Here’s the link to “Claw” on dreamspinner’s site.

And the Goodreads link.

“Unwrapping Hank” is now on Amazon for pre-order

October 26

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This weekend I finished the editing and ebook formatting for “Unwrapping Hank”, my 2014 Christmas novella. It is going to be released Nov 14, 2014.  It’s already locked and loaded at Amazon, ready to go!  You can pre-order it here:

http://www.amazon.com/Unwrapping-Hank-Eli-Easton-ebook/dp/B00OWIQH5I/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1414334832&sr=8-1&keywords=eli+easton+unwrapping+hank

Eli

Cover and excerpt: “Unwrapping Hank” (due Nov 14)

October 9

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“Unwrapping Hank”, my 2014 Christmas story, is due to release Nov 14, 2014.  The cover by done by the talented Reese Dante, who did my Mistletoe cover last year.  This isn’t a sequel, but it does have a similar vibe.

Blurb:

Sloane loves a good mystery. He grew up as the son of two psychiatrists, so he finds most people tediously easy to figure out. He finds his way to Pennsylvania State University, longing for a rural experience, and ends up being lured into joining a frat by Micah Springfield, the hippest guy on campus.

Nothing in Sloane’s classes is as intriguing as Hank Springfield, Micah’s brother and fellow frat house member. Hank looks like a tough guy—big muscles, tatts, and a beard—but his eyes are soft and sweet. He acts dumb, but he’s a philosophy major. He’s presumably straight, but then why does Sloane feel such crazy chemistry whenever Hank is around? And why does Hank hate Sloane so much?

When Sloane ends up stuck on campus over Christmas, Micah invites him to spend the holidays at their family farm in Amish country. It’s a chance to experience a true Americana Christmas–and further investigate the mystery that is Hank Springfield. Can Sloane unlock the secrets of this family and unwrap the heart hidden inside the beefcake?

Here’s the first excerpt!  (this is pre-editor)

1

 

“Sloane, why don’t you get us some more sangria? In the kitchen. On the kitchen table. That’s the good stuff.” Micah Springfield winked at me.

“You know, Hank is—” Brian started.

Micah put an arm around Brian’s neck in a casual stranglehold, clapped a hand over his mouth, and patted it lightly, as if he was joking around. “Sloane?” Micah held out his glass to me.

“Uh… sure.” I took his glass, wondering if this was a pledge thing. If I, as a new member of Delta Sigma Phi, and a lowly freshman, was going to be a community gopher for the foreseeable future.

But so far, Micah and the Delts had been amazingly benevolent. When I and four other freshman rushed, there were no illegal pranks, panty-on-head wearing, belly-crawling through urine, or naked spanking. Which was good, because I would have laughed, ho ho ho, at least at everything except possibly the naked spanking. Then I’d have made a beeline for the exit.

I never thought I’d be the type to rush a frat. In fact, if my parents knew about it, they’d be lecturing me over the phone on peer pressure, the dangers of co-dependency in closed social structures, and the effects of one’s social group on GPA in a university setting. They were both psychologists, and I, I was their lifelong patient. Nothing in my life went undeconstructed. But when Micah, a TA in one of my classes, latched onto me and gave me the hard sell, I didn’t resist.

Micah Springfield is president of the Delts. He’s that guy who is hipper than you will ever be, even if you took master lessons from Bob Dylan and Will Smith. He’s genuinely smart but a thousand leagues from being a nerd. He’s good-looking but lazy with it, you know? He has wild curly brown hair that’s down to his shoulders, with these little braids in it, dread-style, and a remarkably unskeevy soul patch. He wears slouchy low-riding jeans, crazy-patterned shirts, and leather sandals most of the time, even in November. He’s a senior in environmental science, of course, because that’s what terminally hip people major in. And he has these insightful brown eyes, eyes that looked right into yours and say I’m touching your soul, brother.

Micah was warm. In other words, the opposite of my parents.

Besides, the Delts lived in a cool old mansion, which was so much better than sharing a dumpy dorm room with my perpetually anxious, tums-chewing, pre-med roommate. I was over all the hair-pulling. He pulled his own hair, not mine, but still. I was definitely ready to move into a room in the Delts house that first weekend in November.

And if I’d had some stirrings of attraction to Micah at first, it honestly had nothing to do with my decision. I figured out in the first ten minutes that he was straight, and that was the end of that. Tiny nubbin of interest nipped in the bud, and we were both the better for it.

“Kitchen,” I repeated, looking pointedly at the punch bowl not two feet away.

“Trust me,” Micah insisted, winking at me again.

I sighed and went off to find the frat house kitchen.

 

*                          *                         *

 

I pushed through a swinging door and saw a refrigerator. I’d found the kitchen. My sense of accomplishment lasted for about two seconds. Then I noticed the guy standing at the sink doing dishes.

The Delts I’d met so far were upscale-looking guys. Even with Micah’s slouchy hippiness, there was a sense of quality about him that shone. And the other frat members, like Brian, tended to polo shirts and button-downs and managed to tread that narrow line between respectable students and nerds. They were more prone to hacky-sack and ultimate frisbee on the front lawn than video games or football and steroids. It was a zone I felt comfortable in, if not one where I precisely belonged.

But this creature at the sink was something else.

He was a big guy, had to be over six feet and he was broad. He wore old, holey jeans that showcased a perfect, firmly rounded ass. On top he wore a white wife-beater tank top and nothing else, which left acres of huge muscles and tattoos exposed. He had a thick buzz cut and a full beard. One bare foot was propped up on the opposing calf as he washed glasses in hot, soapy water.

I clenched the stems of the glasses in my hands so hard it was a miracle they didn’t break. Black began to descend on my vision and it took me a moment to identify the problem—I wasn’t breathing. Silly me. I gasped in a mouthful of oxygen and the sound caused sink guy to turn his head to look at me.

“Hey.” Sink guy’s grunt was low and rough like a dog or a bear. He turned around and went back to washing dishes.

I love a good mystery. In fact, I find it boring how unmysterious life is most of the time. Study the material, get correct answers on tests, get a good grade, eventually get lots of good grades to get a good job. Point A to B to C. And people? Growing up the son of two psychologists, and furthermore being a huge fan of murder mysteries, I had a tendency to analyze people and put them in boxes fairly quickly.  For example, the pinch of my mother’s mouth can indicate long-suffering, irritated, or secretly pleased, depending on its exact tension. There’s a look a guy gets in his eye when he’s attracted to you and a different look when he finds out you’re gay and he’s disgusted by that. Most people are open books.

But standing in that kitchen my head was flooded with a dozen questions.

Who was this guy?

What was he doing in the Delts’s kitchen washing dishes? He didn’t look like a Delt, but he didn’t look like anyone a sane person would hire for catering or clean-up either.

He seemed young, about my age, yet I knew he wasn’t a freshman rushee, because I’d met all of them and we were currently being schmoozed out front in our ‘welcome to the frat’ party.

Why was he barefoot?

If he was a Delt, why was he hiding in the kitchen doing dishes instead of socializing with everyone else?

And why oh why did I have an overwhelming urge to run my hands over the plump muscles on those arms, shoulders, and back, when I’d never before in my life been attracted to muscle guys or tattoos? The guys I’d dated had been smart and fairly sophisticated. A guy like this should not move me. But he did, like Mt Vesuvius.

Oh God, was I going to hell? Would I end up living in Texas?

The guy looked over his shoulder at me again. His eyes were dark blue, with what looked like flecks of gold, and he had long, long black lashes. They were soft eyes.

How did a guy who looked like an ex-con have eyes that were that sweet?

“Need something?” he asked me with a slight frown.

Right. Because standing frozen by the kitchen door holding two glasses in a death grip was not weird at all.

I cleared my throat. “Refill.” I spotted the pitcher of sangria on the table and manage to fill up the two glasses. The guy had gone back to ignoring me, gently clinking glasses in the water and being ridiculously noir with the steam from the sink wafting around him like a figure in an old Humphrey Bogart film.

Some snooping was definitely in order. I left Micah’s glass on the table and wandered over to the sink with my sangria.

“Are you a Delt?” I asked, all casual.

He took his hands out of the suds and braced them on the edge of the sink. They were thick hands, flush with veins.

He looked me over critically, and I tried not to betray the fact that I found him incredibly attractive. Playing it cool, I took a  sip of my drink.

“Yeah,” he said at last. “I’m Hank. Who are you?”

Oh, God. Oh, no. “Sloane. Greg Sloane.”

“Oh.” His face closed off in a heartbeat. He went back to washing dishes. “Yeah, Micah mentioned you.”

As it happened, I’d heard of Hank too. Hank—the one guy at the fraternity who’d voted against my membership, a fact I shouldn’t know but did because Brian had let it spill. He’d also told me to “never mind Hank. Just stay far away from the guy and he won’t bother you.” The impression I’d been left with is that bothering me—maybe with his fists—was entirely possible should I accidentally annoy this paragon.

Hank, the one Delt I’d never met but had a vague notion was homophobic and thus hated me on principle.

That’s when I noticed the cross tattooed on his impressive left bicep. Without another word, I picked up Micah’s drink and went back out into the living room. My heart was beating fast and something like disappointment burning in my stomach.

“Hey,” Micah said. He took his glass and threw his other arm around me. “Come on, I want you to meet Sam Wiser. He’s a junior and in the vet sciences program too.”

“Sure, uh… There was a guy in the kitchen… Hank.”

Micah stopped and looked at me, smiling shyly.  “Yeah? What’d you think?”

What’d I think?

“He seemed really… domesticated. You know, for a white supremacist.”

I was being perhaps a wee bit judgmental, but Micah laughed, a big booming laugh that made everyone turn to see what was so funny.

“I guess you know the guy,” I commented, even more perplexed by Micah’s reaction.

“Oh, I know him.” Micah pulled me in by the neck to whisper in my ear. “Hank is my baby brother.”

EE