Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Preorder Blitz: Joy Ride by Lauren Blakely


   

From #1 NYT Bestselling author Lauren Blakely, comes a steamy new standalone rivals-to-lovers romance…

JOY RIDE!

Now available for preorder on all retailers, get ready for the ride of your life!

       

"Sexy, refreshing, and just downright hilarious, Max and Henley's love story was EVERYTHING I'd hoped it would be. Laced with comedic banter and sexy innuendos, JOY RIDE quickly became one of my FAVORITES from the blooming queen of RomComs." ~Shayna, Shayna Renee's Spicy Reads

   

✮✮✮JOY RIDE is now available for preorder across all retailers!✮✮✮
From the #1 New York Times Bestselling author of FULL PACKAGE and BIG ROCK, comes a hot & hilarious new standalone romantic comedy...
Let's be honest, ladies. A good man is a lot like the perfect car. You want a hot body, an engine that purrs, and superior performance under the hood...for the best joy ride of your life. I'm at your service. Ready to go all night long.
But then a wildly sexy brunette appears in my life and throws a wrench in all my plans. She's fiery, she's talented, she's gorgeous, and I'd really like to know what makes her engine hum.
Henley also happens to be my biggest rival, and now we're forced to work together every day on the most important custom car build of my career. The trouble is I can't quite figure out if she wants to kick me in the lug nuts or beg me to give her a good, hard fuel injection. Until one night that question is answered on the hood of a sports car when she calls out my name three times. And we can't seem to put on the brakes. If sleeping with the enemy is a bad idea, how much more dangerous would it be to fall in love with her?
 

You can find this sexy standalone romantic comedy available for preorder across all retailers now!

Amazon Kindle iBooks Barnes & Noble Kobo Google Play Amazon Paperback Goodreads

The audiobook will be narrated by Sebastian York!✦

   

Add it to Goodreads here!

   

And don’t miss Lauren Blakely’s other standalone Romantic Comedies!

BIG ROCK 

MISTER O 

WELL HUNG 

FULL PACKAGE

     



About The Author

 A #1 New York Times Bestselling author, Lauren Blakely is known for her contemporary romance style that's hot, sweet and sexy. She lives in California with her family and has plotted entire novels while walking her dogs. With fourteen New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists more than seventy-five times, and she's sold more than 1.5 million books. In May she'll release JOY RIDE, a standalone romantic comedy. To receive an email when Lauren releases a new book, sign up for her newsletter! laurenblakely.com/newsletter   


Website ** Facebook ** Twitter ** Newsletter ** Goodreads


Presented by
   

Sale - Welcome to Evergreen Grove Boxset by Elisabeth Staab



Excellent Deal! 
You get ALL THIS for only 99 Cents!! 


Welcome to Evergreen Grove!!
This eBook box set features the first three full-length novels in Elisabeth Staab's new adult series, and one bonus novella.

Available for purchase at 



Praise for the series! 

"Elisabeth Staab blows me away." -- Guilty Indulgence Romance Reviews

"From the first sentence I was hooked." -- Binding Addiction

"A dramatic new adult story that will tug at your heart" -- Book Lovin' Mamas

"I couldn't put it down." -- Viviana, Enchantress of Books

"Romance at its finest!" -- Joyfully Jay

"A powerful tale of discovery." -- Xtreme Delusions





At the Stars 
(Evergreen Grove Book 1)

A GIRL TRYING TO LEAVE HER PAST BEHIND

I was a normal teenager who loved music and dancing, until the day I was attacked in my favorite record store. A few years later when my mom succumbed to depression and took her own life, I couldn’t stay in my hometown with all the memories and the curious stares. I decided to get in my car and just go – except my car decided it was done going outside a tiny place called Evergreen Grove. That’s where I found Jake. Or I guess Jake found me.

A GUY WHO CAN’T LET HIS GO

For the last eight years, all I can think about is the day I ended another man’s life. Then I manage to save Cassie’s, and I feel like maybe I’ve got some kind of second chance. To do what I couldn’t before, or maybe even for something bigger. Something like love. If only I could feel like I deserve her...

At the Stars is a story of lost hope, new beginnings, and found love.




Acts of Creation 
(Evergreen Grove Book 2) 

He’s living a lie.

Dante Ramos: Champion. Ladies’ man. Party animal. Women want him, and men either want to be him or put his lights out for sleeping with their girlfriends. It’s all an act. Inside, he’s so full of self-loathing he’s on a fast-track to self-destruction.

She’s living in the shadows.

Meeting Michelle at a support group for assault survivors shows Dante a new world of possibilities. Finally, someone in his life might understand him, and she creates in him a fierce need to protect. Trouble is, Dante lives his life in the spotlight, and the only thing Michelle wants is a place to hide.





By the Rules 
(Evergreen Grove Book 3)

He thinks I want him because of the rumors around town. Because I think he’s easy. I want AJ, because he’s AJ.

No liars. No suits. Absolutely no straight guys…

AJ Fabin’s list of rules keeps him safe. Since getting kicked out of his parents’ home and attacked by a former escorting client, his rules and his life in the tiny town of Evergreen Grove provide a quiet haven. He may be lonely, and he may stick out like a sore thumb, but the folks like him well enough. When he’s not dodging his old pimp, things are peaceful.

Hayden Price is having a quarter-life crisis. Engaged to a woman he can’t connect to and working a job he secretly hates, he comes to Evergreen Grove to help his mother through a health scare. Returning to his childhood home makes Hayden reevaluate a lot of things, including himself. When he meets AJ and finds he can’t stand the mouthy jerk—almost as much as he can’t stop thinking about him—he has a lot more to change than his career.

To be together, they’ll both have to break all of their rules.

By the Rules is book 3 in the Evergreen Grove series, but reads as a standalone.




Marry Me, Baby: An Evergreen Grove Novella 

Dante Ramos will win at love if it's the last thing he does...

Since I retired from boxing, I'm fighting to keep my life off the damn ropes.

Lately, one thing after another's falling apart. First there's the road-trip on Valentine's weekend that coulda gotten me and my girl both killed. Then came the unspoken secrets that put so much distance between us.

My love for Michelle is everything that keeps me human. I can feel her slipping away. I've got one last shot. A desperate proposal.

And it's all about to go wrong.






Grab this awesome Box Set Now! 
Just in time before 
Losing the Fight (Evergreen Grove Book 5)
releases on April 30, 2017


He’s already blown his shot…

Tyler Thacker threw away his MMA title. When his brother died and he lost the girl he loved, getting his career back seemed impossible. Now that girl is in the picture again and so is his chance to set things right.

Kate Flynn hasn’t been the same since the accident that killed Tyler’s twin and left her injured. When their best friend drags her to Evergreen Grove, she comes face to face with her first love. Being around Ty pushes her to get her life in order, but it also brings up pain she’d rather have kept buried.

Tyler needs to reclaim his future. Kate needs to let go of the past. Maybe, together, they can fight through the agony of what they’ve lost. Maybe, together, they’ll win something truly amazing.

Pre-order your copy now! 

Kindle |  Nook  |  iTunes



About The Author

Elisabeth Staab started hunting mutant hedgehogs back in 1842… Oops, wrong bio… Elisabeth Staab digs coffee, saucy stories, and sexy things that go bump in the night. Once, she ate dinner in a jail and liked it. She lives in the Washington DC area with her incredible family and does her best to juggle life while ignoring the laundry.






You can find Elisabeth at 






Presented by

Gift Ideas for the Book Lover #99



Happy Wednesday and welcome to the Gift Ideas for the Book Lover series! Gone are the days where book lovers only received gift cards to Amazon and/or B&N! Something old and something new....  



Book Quote Pillow, Reading Pillow, Book Lover Toss Pillow, Reading Throw Pillow, Book Pillow Case, Book Lover Pillow, Book Pillow Cover
$25.00+ (plus S&H)

An awesome throw pillow for book lovers! Available in several sizes and colors to work perfectly with your decor.

PILLOW DETAILS:
❤ Sizes: 14"x14", 16"x16", 18"x18", 20"x20", 24"x24", or 26"x26"
❤ Available as just a pillow case OR with the pillow insert/stuffing (pillow insert is 100% recycled polyester)
❤ Material: 100% spun polyester poplin (the look and feel of soft canvas)
❤ Quote is printed on both sides
❤ Finished with a concealed zipper
❤ Available in various background colors with white lettering. If you choose a white pillow/pillow case, the lettering will be black. Click on the second image included with this listing to view color samples. 






Vintage Silver Pill Box, Book Shaped Napier Pill Box, Silver Plate
$48.00 (plus S&H)


This is a vintage book shaped pill box made by Napier circa 1950s. It measures 1 1/2 inches x 1 1/8 inches x 3/8 of an inch. It is stamped "Book of Health" on the front. It is marked Napier Pat Pend on the inside of the lid. It opens easily and closes securely. This appears to be silver plated.







Mr. Darcy Figure Keychain Charm Necklace Jane Austen Pride & Prejudice Book Gift
$7.99 (plus S&H)

This is a super cute Silicone Mr. Darcy Figure from Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice!

He is made of silicon and is 1.7".
Comes with a keychain ring.

Perfect for any Jane Austen Fan.
Also a great gift!














Beauty and the Beast Themed Cork Coaster Set of 4
$8.75 (plus S&H)

This set of cork coasters makes a great gift! The designs feature popular pubs from the wizarding world.

These cork coasters are fun and eco-friendly. Cork is a biodegradable and sustainable resource. These coasters will protect your furniture from scratches and water stains. They feature a beveled edge for a finished look. Cork is naturally waterproof and anti-slip.

Dimensions:
Diameter: 4 inches
Thickness 1/4 inch

This item is custom made for you in our studio.

Printed with eco-friendly ink.

Made in the USA




If items are no longer available, please contact the seller to request further information. 


Click here to see more gift ideas!!


Visit us every Wednesdays for more awesome gift/present ideas for you or the 
Book Lover in your life!!! 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Release Day Blitz: Falling for the Billionaire Wolf and His Baby by Sasha Summers


Falling for the Billionaire Wolf and His Baby
(Blood Moon Brotherhood Series, Bk #1)
By Sasha Summers

Blurb: 

When Jessa Talbot’s boss offered her a promotion, she agreed—no questions asked. Her family needed the money, but fighting the attraction she feels for her brooding employer is tough. Worse, she instantly bonds with his infant son she’s caring for. But this is a temporary solution and she can’t get attached to either of them.

Finnegan Dean is cursed. He’s a nicely dressed monster, the wolf inside always looking for a way out. But there are two things he and his wolf agree on. They must protect baby Oscar and Jessa—his mate. While the wolf hungers to seal their bond, Finn fights the instinct. After all, if he really cares for her, he’d never doom her to the life he lives.



Available for purchase at 

         



Excerpt


“Congratulations, you’re the father.” Hollis sounded like he was announcing time of death, not the birth of a child.

Finn stared blindly out the window, anger and frustration warring with utter disbelief. “You’re sure?” He couldn’t keep the razor-sharp edge from his voice. Hollis was just the messenger—one of the few people Finn could trust, one of the few that stood by him no matter what. He was the asshole who knocked up a long-forgotten one-night stand. How was the question. He was always careful. Extra careful when it came to sex. He had to be. “I met her four months ago, Hollis. Are you sure?” His grip on the phone tightened.

“I’m sure it’s yours. A full-term, healthy baby. I can’t guarantee much more.” Hollis’s voice remained calm, almost detached, as always. “Cara didn’t make it. She has no family, no one to challenge custody of the baby.”

Cara. She’d been so full of life, so hungry for the next big adventure. What they’d shared had been fast and furious. When they’d parted, it had been on good terms, no expectations or regrets. How could she be dead?

Hollis’s words grabbed his attention. “Looking at the body—I’m not sure what happened.”

“So, not a car accident?” Finn had wondered. Guilt and sadness kicked him in the gut.

“That would be the easy explanation. One that will be her official cause of death.”

“But?”

“But I think there’s more to it.” Hollis sighed. “There’s always more to it when we are involved. I’m going to have a look at her records, see what needs to be taken care of. I hate to point this out but…this isn’t going to go over well with the others.”

“No shit,” Finn growled. “It’s not exactly making my day, either.” Hollis hadn’t said it, but Finn knew the truth. Cara’s death was on him. His fucking fault.

“No, I don’t imagine it is.” He paused, the silence loaded until he added, “As unfortunate as that is, he can’t stay here.”

“He?” Finn repeated, his brain already assessing damage control.

“Your son,” Hollis finally snapped. “This is dangerous, Finn.”

Because there was nobody or nothing like his…son. This boy could jeopardize everything they’d been striving for the last ten years. Words wouldn’t come. His son. He might be a baby now, but what the hell would he become? What would he be capable of? Self-loathing, hot and bitter, flooded Finn’s mouth.

“Jesus, Finn, are you listening?” Hollis paused. “He can’t stay in the hospital. I’ve been handling tests, all his bloodwork, but I can’t be here twenty-four seven. You must come get him. He’s your responsibility.”

Hollis was right. And there wasn’t a single thing he could do about it. “Fine.” The word was clipped.

“Today,” Hollis added.

Meaning Finn needed to work faster on finding help. The initial call from Cara’s agent the night before had given him a heads-up, but he’d known the kid wasn’t his. It had been too soon, an impossibility. Now… He ran a hand through his hair, wanting to hit something. “Give me ‘til noon. I’ll be there.” He sat in his tall-backed leather chair, slammed the phone onto the desk, and pressed his fingers to his temples.

What the fuck was he supposed to do? Babies weren’t dogs—you couldn’t put them in a kennel for the day. He wasn’t equipped for this. His assistant, Marjorie, had pulled employee files for him last night—right before she’d quit. And this time, he didn’t think she was coming back.

He’d met with two of the three assistants he deemed acceptable this morning. Neither was suitable. Nor did they act as if they could deal with the sort of surprises that might come with this baby. Contestant number three was his only hope. It’s not like he could just call a nanny service, not yet. He’d have to wait a month. If this baby… He sighed, rolling his head and easing the tension in his neck.

Hollis was right – this was dangerous for them. Too many unknowns, too many variables, to turn over to a stranger.



 About The Author

Sasha Summers grew up surrounded by books. Her passions have always been storytelling, romance, and travel. Whether it's an easy-on-the-eyes cowboy or a hero of truly mythic proportions, Sasha falls a little in love with each and every one of her heroes. She frequently gets lost with her characters in the worlds she creates; forgetting everyday tasks like laundry and dishes. Luckily, her four brilliant children and hero-inspiring hubby are super understanding and helpful.



You can connect with Sasha at 

               




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Friday, April 21, 2017

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Shelter the Sea by Heidi Cullinan


Shelter the Sea 
(The Roosevelt Series, Book 2)
by Heidi Cullinan 


Blurb:

Some heroes wear capes. Some prefer sensory sacks.

Emmet Washington has never let the world define him, even though he, his boyfriend, Jeremey, and his friends aren’t considered “real” adults because of their disabilities. When the State of Iowa restructures its mental health system and puts the independent living facility where they live in jeopardy, Emmet refuses to be forced into substandard, privatized corporate care. With the help of Jeremey and their friends, he starts a local grassroots organization and fights every step of the way.

 In addition to navigating his boyfriend’s increased depression and anxiety, Emmet has to make his autistic tics acceptable to politicians and donors, and he wonders if they’re raising awareness or putting their disabilities on display. When their campaign attracts the attention of the opposition’s powerful corporate lobbyist, Emmet relies on his skill with calculations and predictions and trusts he can save the day—for himself, his friends, and everyone with disabilities.

He only hopes there isn't a variable in his formula he’s failed to foresee.



Available for purchase at 

            


Review

As the saying goes.... good things are worth the wait! I loved Emmet and Jeremy in CARRY THE OCEAN, bk 1 in the Roosevelt series and bk 2 doesn't disappoint! On the contrary, you fall deeper in love with the characters and the world Heidi has created!

A story filled with emotions, heart and characters that continue to leave you wanting to know more about them. So when I learned that the second book is a continuation of the same couple I was excited! Then there was a moment of dread, because Jeremy and Emmet have already been through enough and I didn't want them to go through more. That's not how life work, is it? The good news is that though there is a little angst its all works out and the story ROCKS!!

Heidi is a phenomenal writer, bringing true emotion to both her characters and to her readers. There will be moments where you cry and moments where you smile and moments when an audible sigh is much needed.

Overall, an awesome addition to the series and I CANNOT wait to 're-read' via the audio book. Iggy Toma, one of my favorite narrators will be narrating both CARRY THE OCEAN and SHELTER THE SEA!!

Rating: 4 Stars - LOVED IT




Excerpt



Shelter the Sea

Chapter One
Emmet
My boyfriend, Jeremey, thinks the moon looks like a watermelon.
He said this the night we visited my aunt for Christmas. My aunt who lives in Minneapolis, not the one who lives in Ames, though Althea was there that night too. Aunt Stacy has a telescope, and she let me use it to show Jeremey the moon up close. I was listing the names of the seas and craters when he told me what the moon reminded him of.
“It looks like a watermelon.”
I tried to work out how the moon could be similar to a watermelon, but I couldn’t do it. “Jeremey, it isn’t even green.”
“But it has the lines across it, the same as a watermelon, and they all come from a single point, the stub where the stem would have been, leading back to the rest of the plant. See? That spot there. The bright one at the bottom.”
He let me use the telescope again. I still didn’t see a watermelon. “That’s Tycho. It’s a crater.”
“Like the toy company?”
“No. The toy company is spelled T-y-c-o. This is T-y-c-h-o, for the Dutch astronomer. It was seventy percent likely formed by the asteroid 298 Baptistina, which they used to think was the same one that made the dinosaurs go extinct, but then they found out it wasn’t.”
“It will always be a watermelon to me now. But I’ll remember the stem’s name is Tycho.” Jeremey leaned on my shoulder, gazing at the moon without the telescope. “I didn’t realize there were so many seas on the moon. I didn’t think it had any water.”
“It doesn’t on the surface. Solar radiation burned all the water off, but they thought it might be in lunar rocks. Surface ice has been discovered recently, however.”
“Why do scientists always look for water on the moon and other planets?”
“Because it’s the essential element for any human habitation. Unfortunately, so far lunar habitation isn’t looking good.”
“But they have all those seas on the moon. Does that mean it used to have water?”
“No. Those are lunar maria, basaltic plains. The early astronomers thought they were ancient seas, but they were in fact formed by ancient volcanic eruptions.”
Jeremey settled his head more heavily on my shoulder, listening, and so I kept talking. I told him about the lunar dust, how it covers the surface and comes from comets hitting the surface, five tons of dust rising and falling every day. How the dust takes ten minutes to land.
Jeremey shook his head. “What do you mean, ten minutes to land? That’s how long until the dust hits?”
“No. It hits, then rises, but because there’s so little gravity, it takes five minutes for it to rise and then five minutes to fall back down. Which means the moon has on average one hundred and twenty kilograms of lunar dust rising one hundred kilometers above the surface at all times.”
“Wow. You know a lot about the moon.”
I knew a lot more than what I’d said so far, and when I told him this, he asked to hear the rest. We sat there for another hour, me telling him everything I knew, until my voice was scratchy and I needed water. He went inside and got some for me, and then he talked while I drank it.
“It’s so weird to think the moon has all those seas but no water. The names are so pretty. I almost prefer the Latin ones because they’re so mystical. Mare Nubium. Though Sea of Clouds is nice too.” He hugged his arms around his body. “Are there places on Earth called seas or oceans without any water?”
“They call the deserts sand seas, sometimes.”
“That sounds sad, though.”
He swayed back and forth, and I rocked and hummed with him because I was so content.
Then he spoke once more, his voice quiet. “I heard your mom talking inside. About The Roosevelt. Bob is worried about money.”
I stopped rocking, but my insides felt jumbly the way they always did when this subject came up. The Roosevelt was the place where Jeremey and I lived, and Bob was the man who owned it, the father of David, one of our best friends. “David would tell us if something serious was wrong. Bob’s having a fundraiser on New Year’s Eve.”
“Your mom is worried it won’t be enough. Not with the budget cuts the state is proposing and the way they’re restructuring the mental health system as a whole.” Jeremey hugged himself tighter. “I don’t want to lose The Roosevelt.”
I didn’t want to lose The Roosevelt either. I didn’t think it was a good idea to worry, though. “Why don’t we wait to talk to David. There’s not much we can do about anything up here on the roof. We should enjoy the moon and think about how slowly the dust is rising and falling.”
We did exactly that, and I noticed Jeremey relaxed. The next time he had something to say, it was about the moon, not about fears of losing our home. “Sometimes we say people have seas of emotion. What would sea of emotion be in Latin?”
Mare Adfectus. And sand sea would be Mare Harenam.
“I like sand sea in Latin better. But mostly I enjoy hearing you tell me all about things like the seas of the moon. Even if they are salt.”
“Basalt isn’t salt. It’s silica.”
“Can you tell me all about basalt and silica?”
I could, and I did.
Most people don’t want to hear me talk about the things I know, but most people aren’t Jeremey. He doesn’t mind that I’m autistic. He says it’s one of his favorite things about me. He says sometimes my autism is the best medicine for his depression and anxiety, which was why we’d gone up to the telescope in the first place. Jeremey was anxious in my aunt’s house, and he’d been depressed for a few days as well, he’d told me. He’d been depressed more often than not for several months now, in fact, and it didn’t matter how they adjusted his meds or how often he went to see his therapist, Dr. North. Depression, and sometimes anxiety too, kept getting the better of him. I wondered if it was because he was worried about the rumors we kept hearing about The Roosevelt being in trouble, though it was hard to say with depression. It could be for no reason except because depression eats happiness.
But Jeremey said when we sat together in the moonlight and I told him all the facts about the moon and basalt, he felt better.
Jeremey and I have been boyfriends for over two years now. We’ve lived together for most of that time in The Roosevelt. Neither of us is okay to function in the world alone, but together and with the help of our friends and family, and the staff at The Roosevelt, we’re independent and happy.
Except that night with Jeremey wrapped in a blanket and arranged carefully in my arms, I decided I didn’t want to be quite so independent anymore. I wanted to keep Jeremey with me, to take care of him and to let him take care of me. I wanted to be dependent on him. I wanted him to be there to tell me the moon looks like a watermelon and then ask me to talk for another hour about basalt. I wanted to do everything with Jeremey, forever. This is a special kind of thing between boyfriends, when you feel this way. This meant I wanted to marry Jeremey.
With people on the mean, coming to such a realization would be simple. I would have bought a ring, asked him, and we’d have gotten married. But I’m not a person on the mean, and neither is Jeremey. And when I made the decision to marry Jeremey, it was only December. There were so many changes about to happen, earthquakes coming because the world wasn’t content to let people such as Jeremey and me simply enjoy the next step in our happy ever after. Not without a lot of complications.
This story is about how we undid those complications and got ourselves the rest of our happy ever after anyway.
#
Asking Jeremey to marry me was a big question, and it deserved some serious consideration and preparation. I knew getting married was complicated no matter what, but I didn’t know what kind of accommodation my autism and his depression and anxiety would require from a practical standpoint. I was nervous, but not because I thought asking him was a mistake. Marrying Jeremey was a logical move, and I felt confident about our relationship. I didn’t worry about Jeremey’s answer, either. The probability of him saying no was low.
But I knew our families would be concerned, especially Jeremey’s. They didn’t like that I was autistic. They hated the autism part more than the gay part, Jeremey said. They would be upset if we got engaged, and this would upset Jeremey, which would only make his depression worse.
Jeremey’s depression was often challenging for me. I had a difficult time understanding how to live with it as his partner. His anxiety was okay. He had the AWARE anxiety management strategy to manage himself, and I knew all the steps and could help him remember to do them. But depression was tricky. Anxiety I could see on the outside, but depression happened on the inside. It scared me. He’d already attempted suicide once, and I never wanted it to happen again. I knew I couldn’t necessarily stop this from occurring, but I also knew the variables which influenced the odds.
My mother would call this splitting hairs. I will never understand either this metaphor or how anyone could split a hair with any knife or ax or sharp instrument of any kind.
There were other considerations to proposing to Jeremey, though. I didn’t get disability anymore because of my employer, but Jeremey did. He had a job as our friend David’s uncertified aide, but it was part-time. He attended community college for a short while to be a Certified Medical Aide, but it was too stressful for him. He took some classes online, but it was hard for him. Eventually he decided to stay on disability and maybe try classes another time. He made a small salary as David’s aide, but it was basically a discount on his fees for being at The Roosevelt.
Right now his insurance comes from Medicaid, which is complicated and messy since the State of Iowa decided to make it privatized. My mother, a medical doctor, has a great deal to say about this, and most of it is swearing. All I know is when Jeremey had to switch to the private plan, he had to pick one of three insurance companies, and now he has to drive to Des Moines for half his appointments since most of the providers he used stopped taking his insurance due to the Medicaid privatization. Some of the doctors he saw only took one kind but not another, so he had to choose which ones he wanted to see. He has regular panic attacks over dealing with his health care management now, and this is with me, my parents, and The Roosevelt staff helping him. My mother says people who don’t have support staff are up “shit crick.” Crick is a colloquial way of saying creek, which is a synonym for small stream. She assures me they do not actually need to walk up a river of poop, but they might as well because it would probably be less awful than navigating our new health system.
I’ve never been on Medicaid. Even if I had been, it wouldn’t have mattered as we also had my family’s insurance, which meant we could make other choices. Technically Jeremey could use his family’s insurance until he is twenty-six, but then he would have to negotiate with his parents, who are challenging, so he’s elected to deal with the messy state system alone. I don’t use my family insurance anymore either, since I work full-time now at Workiva. I worked for them part-time while I was still in college because they think I’m a genius. This is because I am a genius.
Workiva gives me a generous salary and benefits package, including insurance. I thought if I married Jeremey, he could be on my insurance, but I didn’t know if Jeremey’s disability payments would change if he was my husband. Jeremey’s job with David and his SSI payments cover his part of our bill for our apartment and fees at The Roosevelt with a tiny bit of spending money for Jeremey left over. The truth is if he didn’t live with me, he couldn’t afford to live at The Roosevelt. I don’t know, to be honest, how he would live at all.
I hoped marrying me would make things easier, but it was worth checking to make sure they didn’t get more complicated instead. The trouble was, I didn’t know who to talk with about my plan. I thought about talking to David, who was my friend as much as Jeremey’s, but he wasn’t my first choice. David was disabled, but he wasn’t on the spectrum. I felt these were spectrum issues, and so I decided I should go to a friend who was also on the spectrum, Darren.
I made the decision to contact Darren on my way home from work one day, so when I arrived at The Roosevelt, I was eager to go upstairs and begin the conversation. First, however, I had to stop in the lounge and say hello to Jeremey and my friends. I didn’t want to because I was so focused on the potential conversation with Darren, but it would have been rude to skip them. Since the whole point was to figure out how to marry Jeremey, it was logical to take the time to care for his feelings first.
I was already being a good husband before I’d even proposed.
When the Workiva car dropped me off at The Roosevelt, I hummed, feeling happy. I liked that we had snow. Everything felt quieter when we had snow. There had been a blizzard the day before, and we’d made snow residents on the lawn. They smiled at me as I passed, and I smiled back.
As I entered the lounge, I counted seven people in the room, eight now because I was also present. David and Jeremey were there, as well as Sally and Tammy, the support staff for the building. Paul had his back to them as he played Xbox, but he had no headphones and the TV sound was off, so I knew he was listening to the conversation. Cameron was with Sally at the table, running his Spirograph while he spoke. This meant he was concentrating.
Stuart sat beside him, watching the circles and patterns and occasionally making yelp noises to let Cameron know he enjoyed the drawings and was excited to be included in the conversation. Most people wouldn’t consider drawing a conversation, but it was to Cameron and Stuart.
Stuart is a strange guy. He’s on the spectrum too—a lot of us in the building are—but there’s something about him that makes me want to flap my hands. Technically the term for flapping is stimming, but I’ve always thought of it as flapping, so that’s what I call it. Stuart makes me feel flappy. He uses his camera eyes to watch me, the same as I watch him. Like a lot of autistic people, he doesn’t have to look directly at something to see it. Yet I always feel as if he’s watching me whenever I’m in the lounge. Tammy says this is because I did a viral video with David and Jeremey last year. We dressed up like the Blues Brothers and danced through Target to Stuart’s favorite song by his favorite artist, “Happy” by Pharrell Williams, and became YouTube stars for a few days. To this I say, why doesn’t he watch Jeremey or David?
Tammy says it’s because they don’t dance like Elwood Blues or have autism the same as he does. Except our autism isn’t the same, but Tammy doesn’t understand. She means well, but autism isn’t one size fits all. Stuart and I are living proof.
Beside Stuart was David in his wheelchair, and beside David was Jeremey. I signed my special hello to Jeremey, and then I flapped at the room so they knew I was happy to see them too.
Sally waved me over. “We’re making plans for a party, Emmet. A New Year’s Eve party. Come join us.”
I ignored her for a minute because every time I see Jeremey after work I give him a touch. Jeremey loves touches and hugs about as much as they make me feel as if someone put my skin on inside out. Sometimes I hug him after work and sometimes I don’t, but he always gets some physical contact from me.
I put a hand on his shoulder, and his body went soft as he leaned his cheek on my hand.
Though physical contact isn’t my favorite thing as a general rule, when I touch Jeremey it’s a different story. Today as it usually happened, when I rested my hand on his shoulder, I wanted to sign for him to go upstairs with me and have sex. But it would be rude to leave the party-planning meeting when I’d just arrived, plus I had the chat with Darren to do. So I found a straight-backed chair I could put near David and Jeremey.
David had waited to greet me because he knew Jeremey came first, but when I sat, he held out his fist for me to bump. Our fist bumps are awkward since I clunk too hard and he can’t close his fist all the way or aim well to meet mine, but it’s okay.
Tammy had a list in front of her with two columns, one labeled activities and another snack food. Karaoke and dancing were under the activities column. They were not my favorites. But Mexican train dominoes was on the list too, and I enjoyed this game a lot. I don’t know what is Mexican about it, and I’ve asked, but Sally says it’s only a name. I haven’t been able to find any research that explains why it’s called that either, but I enjoy the game a great deal.
I studied the snacks side of the list and flapped excitedly when I saw what she’d written. Parmesan popcorn was a treat Tammy made when she was extra happy or wanted to reward a resident. It was on the list twice, once with plain written beside it and the other saying there would be M&M’s in the popcorn. This is because some residents enjoy the sweet and salty mixed together in the same bowl and some of us would need to go to the corner and hum if food were jumbled like that.
I didn’t say much while the others planned. Too many people were talking at once, and work and thinking about how to propose to Jeremey had drained my energy, so when I had an idea, I sent texts to Jeremey, who read them to the group. But then I had a thought so big I wanted to say it myself. I tapped the table, and when Sally called on me, I said, “Can we invite Darren?”
“That sounds like a great idea. I’ll talk to his staff and see about arranging for him to come over.”
I was annoyed because I wanted to invite Darren myself, not have staff do it. I thought if I hurried to the apartment, I could maybe invite him first, but before I could excuse myself, Jeremey tapped my leg twice to get my attention. When I turned to him, he didn’t speak, he signed.
A teacher of mine a long time ago taught me and my family to use American Sign Language to communicate during a period when speaking out loud felt too intense for me. I speak out loud often now, but I still use ASL sometimes because it’s handy. My family, friends, and boyfriend use it too, especially when we wanted to have conversations without other people getting involved. When I saw what Jeremey had to say to me, I understood why he was signing instead of speaking.
I caught Sally and Tammy whispering about budgets in the staffroom when they didn’t think I was close enough to hear.
Jeremey was worried about The Roosevelt closing again. Though if Sally and Tammy were whispering about it, maybe he was right to worry. I signed back to him. We need to talk to David instead of eavesdropping.
Jeremey nodded. I thought I would go see him now before we went upstairs to make dinner. But it might mean we start making dinner and do our laundry late.
This worked out perfectly. I need to talk to Darren about something anyway. We can adjust our schedule by a half an hour or even forty-five minutes without a problem.
Jeremey smiled at me, and my chest felt warm and tight. I love you, Emmet.
I love you too, Jeremey.
I kissed the inside of my palm, then pressed that palm to Jeremey’s. His eyes were bright as he took the kiss tight in his fist and his open palm to his lips.
I couldn’t stop smiling. I loved him so much.
“I’ll see you at dinner,” I said, then stood to go get some advice on what would be the best way to marry him.





The Roosevelt Series



Carry the Ocean 
Bk #1


Available for purchase at 

             

Read Viviana's Review here for CARRY THE OCEAN


What’s Coming Up Next in the Series

Originally my intent was for The Roosevelt to be a three-book series, with David’s story being second. I struggled to write his story, however, and when I tried to write a short Christmas story for my patrons last year, I realized my problem: Emmet and Jeremey had more to say. I thought perhaps I could get away with writing their continuation as a novella, and at first I tried that. Then their story grew longer, as stories do, and as the mental health crisis in Iowa became worse, I realized there was so much more to say all around.

I think now what will happen is that at the very least there will now be a Roosevelt universe, with Carry the Ocean and Shelter the Sea being books one and two of the Oceans books, and then there being some kind of third book (maybe, finally, a novella or short story?) and then we move on to David. I’m not sure who the third book is about—I thought I knew, but I’ve decided to stop pretending I know what’s going on and simply show up and see what happens as this seems to be the better strategy, as when I drive things only get messed up. Needless to say, there will be more books coming. And more residents moving into The Roosevelt.



About the Author


Heidi Cullinan has always loved a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. She enjoys writing across many genres but loves above all to write happy, romantic endings for LGBT characters because there just aren't enough of those stories out there. When Heidi isn't writing, she enjoys cooking, reading, knitting, listening to music, and watching television with her husband and ten-year-old daughter. Heidi also volunteers frequently for her state's LGBT rights group, One Iowa, and is proud to be from the first midwestern state to legalize same-sex marriage. 

You can find Heidi here: 

                          


Giveaway






Disclaimer: 
We received a complimentary copy of the book from the author, in exchange for an honest review. This review is my own opinion and not a paid review.

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