Title: Wedding Favors by Anne Tenino
Bluewater Bay Series Book Seven
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, M/M, Erotic Romance
Length: 325 pages/Word Count: 86,000
Lucas Wilder’s best friend is a traitor. First, Audrey moved back to their hick-infested hometown, Bluewater Bay, and now she’s marrying a local. His own brother, in fact. And as her man of honor, Lucas gets coerced into returning for an extended stay. Although, between his unfaithful ex-boyfriend and his artist’s block, going home isn’t the worst thing that could happen. Even if the best man is Gabriel Savage, Lucas’s first crush, first hookup, and first heartbreak.
The only reason Gabe hasn’t been waiting for Lucas to return to Bluewater Bay is because he never thought it’d happen. Not that it matters now that Lucas is back—Gabe’s still a logger who’s never been anywhere (Canada doesn’t count), and Lucas is now a famous sculptor who’s been everywhere twice. Plus, there’s that shared past.
When Audrey asks Lucas to make her wedding favors, the only place to set up a kiln is at Gabe’s tree farm. Soon, they pick up where they left off twelve years before, then blow past it, discovering why neither of them forgot the other. Now they have to choose how much of their history they’ll repeat, and what future they’ll make together.
Purchase Link: Riptide Publishing
“Well.” Dad added a guttural stop to the word in that characteristic way of aging hicks, shoving his chair back from the table at the same time. “Gotta get back to it. Cannabis seedlings don’t repot themselves, y’know.” He stood, smiling down at Lucas. “I’ll say it again, son. It’s damned fine to see you.”
“You too, Dad.” An exhalation of relief escaped with the words, but the torture wasn’t actually over. He’d been duped into thinking the only threat was from his father.
As soon as Dad’s feet had clattered down the side porch steps, his mother started in. “S’pose you expected Gabriel Savage to be your brother’s best man.”
“Yeah.” Her tone and the way she kept glancing at him, then looking away, tripped all of his internal alarms. She was fishing for something. “I mean, since Audrey claimed me as her man of honor, Gabe’s the obvious choice.” He’d been Zach’s best friend since before Lucas could remember.
Tilting her head, Mom smiled. “I think he’s always been a little bit sweet on you.”
What? Inarticulate noises escaped him, but other than slamming his hands down on the table, he didn’t manage to communicate much of anything.
“Last few times you visited, he came up with reasons to drop by. And he always asks me about you, if I run into him.”
“You know he’s gay?”
“Zach told me years ago.” She clucked her tongue at him. “But before that, I sometimes wondered—you remember when you found out you got into that college, he dropped by here to congratulate you one night?”
Prickles of memory sluiced down his body, tingling through his skin from his head to toes. That night. He couldn’t escape it. “He did,” Lucas croaked. “Stop by.”
“Such a nice boy,” his mother mused.
He snorted. If she knew what kind of congratulations had really gone down in his bedroom all those years ago . . .
“Well, a man could do worse than Gabe Savage.”
Oh my God, she was angling for a son-in-law to go along with her daughter-in-law. It had to be something in the water. “Mom!” Would she accept silver salt and pepper cellars instead?
“What?” Her hand fluttered to her breastbone in the perfect parody of innocence.
“Are you— It sounds like you want me to date Gabe.”
She frowned thoughtfully, as if pondering the idea for the first time. “He is a very nice boy. And handsome. Good income too, plus he’s got that farm—”
“I just got out of a relationship, if you’ll recall. Remember Drew?”
Sitting up poker straight, she responded, “Drew was a perfect gentleman.” She fiddled with her tea mug. “Very polite.”
Polite. What compliment would she bestow next, adequate?
But she was right. The one time Drew had visited Lucas’s family in Bluewater Bay, he’d been icily courteous the whole time, and had spoken very slowly, as if the natives might not understand this furriner otherwise. Lucas had hoped (although not really believed) that he was the only one who saw through that frigid civility.
That had been a more painful trip home than his last one. Lucas had swung between anger at his partner and embarrassment over his family the whole time. Now, shame gut-punched him. He should have kicked that bastard out of his parents’ house the first time the guy had wrinkled up his nose and claimed to not be hungry rather than eat something as colloquial as pan-fried morels. They were fifty bucks a pound in Los Angeles, but he couldn’t bring himself to eat the ones Lucas’s father had gathered for free at a jobsite?
No wonder no one liked Drew. The bigger question was why Lucas had. Maybe he should have paid more attention to his family . . . although, right now, his mother was trying to get him to date another guy who’d done him wrong. Except, even if she knew about that night in high school, she’d still see Gabe as a definite step up. It was in the rest of his universe—outside of Bluewater Bay—that dating a logger with his own tree farm would be slumming.
It was like being shrunk down and inserted inside a snow globe and looking out at the big, wide world one used to inhabit. A distorted perspective; as wonky as the view from that world into this one.
Mom changed the subject again, probably because she knew him well enough to sense his confusion and discomfort. Hours later, when he finally said good-bye to his folks, the discordance between the parts of his life was still lurking in the pit of his stomach.
Catalyzed by her discovery of LGBTQ romance, Anne Tenino left the lucrative fields of art history, non-profit fundraising, and domestic engineering to follow her dream of become a starving romance author. For good or ill, her snarky, silly, quasi-British sense of humor came along for the ride.
Anne applies her particular blend of romance, comedy and gay protagonists to contemporary, scifi and paranormal tales. Her works have won awards, she’s been featured in RT Book Reviews, and has achieved bestseller status on Amazon’s gay romance list.
Born and raised in Oregon, Anne lives in Portland with her husband and two kids, who have all taken a sacred oath to never read her books. She can usually be found at her computer, procrastinating.
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