Author Name: Debbie McGowan & Raine O’Tierney
Release Date: May 1, 2015
Pages or Words: 67,000 words
Categories: Contemporary, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance
Publisher: Beaten Track Publishing
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow
Blurb: Shy and awkward since childhood, Aidan Degas is now a man lost. His twin—Aidan’s other half, Nadia—died tragically young, leaving him with nothing to get him through his days but his job at the prestigious Grand Heights Luxury Apartments and the flowers he lays upon her grave. When Aidan is assaulted on the job by a tenant, it’s the graveyard he turns to for strength and solace.
Patrick loves being assistant groundskeeper at the sprawling cemetery where he tends graves and offers a bit of comfort to mourners. When he sees a sad young man lingering over an old grave, his curiosity is strangely piqued for reasons he doesn’t understand. He’s never done this—struck up a friendship with a mourner. But soon that friendship blossoms into a romance.
It’s not going to be easy for the pair. Aidan is so damaged, like petals crushed in an angry fist, and even with Patrick’s warm heart and Irish charm, it might not be enough to bring him back from the edge.
“Quit then. It sounds a horrible place.”
“I can’t quit.” Aidan closed his eyes and left them closed, letting out a long, low breath. “The Grand Heights is all I have.”
He felt Patrick move, felt as he shifted across the center console, close into Aidan’s space, but he did not open his eyes. He was expecting the hug—longed for it even—and as Patrick’s arms wrapped around him, Aidan melted into the feel and warmth and smell of Patrick. Then he felt Patrick’s lips on his neck, so gentle he almost wasn’t certain he felt it at all. He was tenderly kissing the spot where Mrs. Wright had left such an ugly mark.
“I wish I could make it disappear.” Patrick’s voice was hypnotizing, the sound of rain on a tin roof. Aidan turned his face, just a little, so that Patrick’s lips caressed his cheek.
“All of it.”
Their lips met and Aidan died a little, right there, in the parking garage. It was nothing at all like when he’d awkwardly kissed his prom date goodnight, his teeth knocking against hers. Nor was it like Ms. Ashmore and her almost suffocating kisses. And it sure as hell wasn’t Mrs. Wright clawing into him, sucking on his neck like a vampire with a blood-soaked appetizer.
“I’m sorry,” Patrick murmured against his lips. “I don’t know what I’m thinkin’, kissing you like this. I just can’t stand to see you sufferin’, Aidan Degas.”
“Oh.” Idiot, Aidan berated himself as he pulled back. He inhaled deeply and let it out on a chuckle he hoped sounded natural and not hurt. He’s feeling sorry for you. God, you always read so much into everything. “Well, I am feeling much better now.”
Patrick didn’t look convinced.
“I promise,” Aidan said, way too brightly, and turned back to the window. “I wonder if we’re ever getting out of this garage.”
Character interview: Patrick
- What do you find attractive in a man? Sense of humour, kindness – someone who’s prepared to take a chance and have some fun.
- The first thing that went through your head when you saw Aidan? How sad he looked, although I’m not blind, and in my job I’m no stranger to sadness. You get a bit of a knack for seeing past it, and underneath it all I could see what a fine man Aidan was. I wasn’t wrong.
- Do you think you’ll insist the author visits you again? Well, it would be grand to have the girls round in a few years’ time, sure, just to see how we’re getting along. Maybe we’ll get one of those little sausage dogs Ms. O’Tierney’s so fond of. Who knows? There was a woman lived up the road from us by the name of O’Tierney. Wonder if they’re related at all?
- Before you met Aidan, what was your ideal man? I didn’t really have one, to be honest with you. Or I don’t remember now if I did.
- You’re going out for dinner. What’s your favorite food? Ah, now, that’d be the old mushy peas. Go with anything, they do. Although maybe I should be practicing my pie making?
- What’s your job like? Perfect for me. I get to work with my hands, fix things, meet people, and most of all, help. Lately, working for the Grand Heights has been…complicated…but the work is still my favorite.
- Would you rather be respected or feared? Why? Haha! Feared? No way. Respected, definitely. That reminds me though… When we were kids, Nadia was always feared on the playground. I was shy and the kids would pick on me. She got known for rock-throwing prowess.
- What’s your favorite book? You’ll laugh it’s so cliché. Catcher in the Rye. Yeah, yeah, I know. I also read this novel recently called Ruminations that I loved. The character Sean made me think of Patrick, so I spent a lot of time blushing.
- If you could go anywhere, all expenses paid, where would you go? Ireland, definitely. Since meeting Paddy, it’s sort of my obsession.
- Tell us a bit about yourself. What’s there to tell? I’m sort of boring. Oh, well, in high school I entered a pie-eating contest and won second place. I don’t think I ever told Patrick that. He’s not going to read this, is he?
DEBBIE MCGOWAN is an author and publisher based in a semi-rural corner of Lancashire, England. She writes character-driven, realist fiction, celebrating life, love and relationships. A working class girl, she ‘ran away’ to London at 17, was homeless, unemployed and then homeless again, interspersed with animal rights activism (all legal, honest ;)) and volunteer work as a mental health advocate. At 25, she went back to college to study social science— tough with two toddlers, but they had a ‘stay at home’ dad, so it worked itself out. These days, the toddlers are young women (much to their chagrin), and Debbie teaches undergraduate students, writes novels and runs an independent publishing company, occasionally grabbing an hour of sleep where she can!
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