Corbin unlocked the door and flipped on the light, and Stick came bounding over. Her tongue was lolling out and her eyes went in two different directions, but as Corbin closed the door behind her, grabbed a rag that hung by the door, and began wiping the mud from her feet, she swayed in doggie delight and her tail slapped the ground as she tried to lick his hair.
Alex allowed himself to indulge briefly in the fantasy that Corbin might clean him off too.
Once her feet were clean, Stick ran off into the house. They’d entered via a small mudroom, and Alex followed Corbin through into the kitchen. Corbin flicked on the light and started filling a bowl with dog food, while Alex looked around in wonder.
The kitchen had whitewashed walls and all natural wood—broad, butcher-block countertops, beautiful hand-carved cabinetry, and thick wood flooring. It had high ceilings, and bundles of dried herbs hung around the large leaded window. There was an oven and six-burner stove that were old but appeared in good condition, with cast iron pans hung above it. On the far wall was a stone fireplace with an iron pot stand.
A large Shaker table held a hand-carved wooden bowl with a few apples and bananas in it, and a mason jar filled with pussy willow branches.
It smelled like dried sage and lemon, candle wax and a hint of woodsmoke.
“Wow,” said Alex. “This is absolutely gorgeous.” Alex knew a kitchen that had been built with love when he saw one.
Corbin hummed and waved him along, turning on lights as he went. As Alex followed him, he only caught glimpses of the living room and front door. At the bathroom, Corbin handed him a towel and left.
The bathroom was a strange color caught between gray and lavender with an indiscernible light gray pattern. No, not a pattern. It was pencil sketches. Someone—presumably Corbin—had drawn all over the walls. Alex could make out pinecones and acorns, leaves and clouds, cats and dogs and birds. He sat on the closed toilet seat to dry off his pants and saw that down near the baseboard were trailing roses with wicked thorns.
He could smell lavender in here, as if to match the color of the walls. The soap next to the sink looked homemade, and he sniffed it. Yes, lavender.
Once he’d cleaned up, he washed his hands with the lavender soap so he could take at least the scent of Corbin’s house home with him.
“Corbin?” Alex walked back toward the kitchen, but Corbin came from the other direction. “Oh, hey. Thanks for the towel.”
Corbin took it from him, and for a moment, the piece of fabric connected them. Then Alex let go and disappointment washed through him.
They walked to the front door, where the wood floor was in worse condition, with dings and dark grooves between the boards.
“Thanks again,” Alex said at the door. He wanted so badly to hug Corbin, or kiss his cheek. Even a handshake would be something. But Corbin had made it clear he didn’t like to be touched, and Alex shoved his hands deep in his pockets so he couldn’t.
“Alex.” It was, he realized, the first time Corbin had ever said his name. Corbin’s voice caught on the x, making the word his own, and it hovered in the air between them. “I . . . I am.”
It took Alex a moment to rewind to the question Corbin was answering.
“Okay. Do you have a boyfriend?”
“No. No, I can’t.” Corbin looked away.
“You can’t? Why not?”
Corbin bit his lip and when he his eyes met Alex’s again, he looked sad and lost. Not lost in his thoughts as he so often was, but adrift somewhere. Unmoored. Lonely.
“It’s not worth it. Bad things would happen.”
Title: The Remaking of Corbin Wale by Roan Parrish
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Gay, Erotic, Romance, Magical Realism, Fantasy
Length: 237 pages/Word Count: 59,200
Last month, Alex Barrow’s whole life imploded—partner, home, job, all gone in forty-eight hours. But sometimes when everything falls apart, better things appear almost like magic. Now, he’s back in his Michigan hometown, finally opening the bakery he’s always dreamed of. But the pleasure of opening day is nothing compared to the lonely and beautiful man who bewitches Alex before he even orders.
Corbin Wale is a weirdo. At least, that’s what he’s heard his whole life. He knows he’s often in a fantasy world, but the things he feels are very real. And so is the reason why he can never, ever be with Alex Barrow. Even if Alex is everything he’s always fantasized about. Even if maybe, just maybe, Corbin is Alex’s fantasy too.
When Corbin begins working at the bakery, he and Alex can’t deny their connection any longer. As the holiday season works its magic, Alex yearns for the man who seems out of reach. But to be with Alex, Corbin will have to challenge every truth he’s ever known. If his holiday risk pays off, two men from different worlds will get the love they’ve always longed for.
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Purchase Link: Riptide Publishing
20% of all proceeds from this title will be donated to the Russian LGBT Network.
Each year, Riptide Publishing releases a holiday collection in support of an LGBTQ charity. Twenty percent of the proceeds from this year’s collection will be donated to the Russian LGBT Network.
The Russian LGBT network was founded in April 2006. It is an interregional, non-governmental human rights organization that promotes equal rights and respect for human dignity, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. They unite and develop regional initiatives, advocacy groups (at both national and international levels), and provide social and legal services.
To learn more about this charity or to donate directly, please visit their website: https://lgbtnet.org/en.
This collection would not be possible without the talent and generosity of its authors, who have brought us the following holiday stories:
Pre-ordering this collection will allow you to download each story two days prior to its official release date, as well as save 20% off the list price of the individual books.
Roan Parrish lives in Philadelphia where she is gradually attempting to write love stories in every genre.
When not writing, she can usually be found cutting her friends’ hair, meandering through whatever city she’s in while listening to torch songs and melodic death metal, or cooking overly elaborate meals. She loves bonfires, winter beaches, minor chord harmonies, and self-tattooing. One time she may or may not have baked a six-layer chocolate cake and then thrown it out the window in a fit of pique.
She is represented by Courtney Miller-Callihan of Handspun Literary Agency.
To celebrate the release of The Remaking of Corbin Wale, one lucky winner will receive a $20 Amazon gift card! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on December 2, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!