Temptation Tuesday – Release Day! Eli’s Promise!

ElisPromise72web

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Samhain Publishing | Kobo | All Romance eBooks

Time and distance have a way of sneaking up on feelings thought long buried.

The Bar Next Door, Book 2

Five years ago, Eli held the hand of his dying lover and made a promise he never intended to keep. Find someone new to love? Be happy? Fat chance. Eli’s happiness died that day. He’s doing well to put one foot in front of the other, much less risk his heart again.

The only thorn in his side is Asa, part-time waiter at The Bar Next Door, who can’t seem to take a hint.

After years of carrying more responsibility on his broad, cowboy shoulders than most people twice his age, Asa knows what he wants when he sees it. Eli. Shadows haunt the gorgeous older bartender, who also happens to be one of Asa’s bosses, but Asa doesn’t care about potential complications. He only wants to banish Eli’s ghosts—and bring Eli back to life.

Persistence, a little impatience, and Asa’s very wicked mouth go to work on Eli’s grumpy, prickly defenses. But Asa may have to block the door to love with his foot—or his heart—before Eli slams it in his face.

Warning: Beware of stubborn cowboys, sticky bar floors and hot sexy showers, eavesdropping cooks and well-meaning friends, Irish whiskey, and a young man who doesn’t understand the word no.

Excerpt:

“You’re changing the schedule again?”

The voice startled Eli and he struggled to keep hold of his pencil. He hadn’t expected Asa for another half hour or so. The younger man was light on his feet. That he could sneak up on Eli was testament to just how deep in his own mind Eli often was. And what pissed him off most? His thoughts weren’t of Thad and all he’d lost. No, his thoughts were of Asa. His thoughts and his fantasies centered around Asa. Cocky and quiet. Contradictions from head to toe. It drove Eli nuts.

“I am,” Eli confirmed. “We’re going to be short-handed tomorrow night. We need you.”

“So you automatically assume I can work the late shift and close? Again?”

Eli gritted his teeth. He forgot smart-aleck in his rundown on the little pain in his ass. “Yeah. I automatically assume everything.” He felt belligerent, sounded belligerent, but when it came to Asa, Eli couldn’t seem to control his reactions to the man. “You’ve been closing for the past couple of weeks. Now you’ve got a problem with it?”

The tension in the small room jumped a few degrees but leveled off again just as quickly.

“Nope. I’m good. I don’t have plans and don’t have class until noon the next day.”

Asa was standing so close—right up against the back of Eli’s chair. He was leaning over Eli’s shoulder and his breath fanned Eli’s neck with each exhale. Tension coiled in Eli’s shoulders until he bolted up and out the office door. The late afternoon bar crowd was small. Things wouldn’t pick up for another few hours and he huffed out a frustrated breath. What he wouldn’t give for wall-to-wall cowboys, ranch hands, business men and college students. At least then he’d have a hell of a lot more to do that didn’t include having to escape Asa’s all too interested blue-eyed stare.

“Why do you avoid me?” Asa asked, close on Eli’s heels.

“I do nothing of the sort.”

“You do.”

“Bullshit,” Eli growled. He slipped behind the bar as fast as his booted feet would carry him, but damn if the punk wasn’t hot on his ass.

“See, you’re doin’ it now.” Asa’s tone was a little too cheerful for Eli’s taste. He was tired of clenching his jaw. He was tired of fighting the two things he wanted most: Asa…and Thad.

Only Thad was dead and Asa wasn’t. Only Thad had made Eli promise to keep living, to fall in love again.

And only Asa had stirred any kind of feelings in Eli since. Only Asa made him want to start doing more than simply getting up in the morning and going to sleep at night.

“I think it’s ’cause you like me,” Asa teased.

“I think you should get to work.”

“I think you want me.”

Inwardly, Eli nodded at Asa’s jab. The waiter had no idea just how much Eli wanted him. “I think you need to shut up or find another job.”

“I think you just need to know I want you too.”

Eli whipped around. “I’m warning you.” His heard the low, dangerous tone of his voice. He hadn’t gotten so worked up since… He shook his head. He wasn’t going to think about that night. “Get to work. That’s all I want. You.” He pointed at Asa. “Work.” He jerked his thumb toward the bar.

When he pushed past the stunned and no-longer-smiling man, he hoped he wouldn’t have to get into this again. His fantasies and dreams of Asa needed to stay private. They were keeping him sane, as strange as that was for him to understand. But he didn’t need anyone knowing about them, especially Asa. It was bad enough he felt he was cheating on Thad, even though finding someone else was Thad’s deathbed wish. Damn dead man. Eli would love to wrap his hands around Thad’s shoulders and shake him. He’d love to beg him to explain why he wanted Eli to keep on living. There wasn’t a day that had gone by since Thad’s death that Eli hadn’t wanted to die too.

He shut himself back in the office and picked up his pencil. He sent it flying across the room and watched it bounce off the wall and clatter on the wooden floor.

Asa could never know how Eli felt about him.

Never.

Eli had no interest or intention of fulfilling his promise to Thad, no matter the tug Asa had on Eli.

~

“Asa, will you grab the last of the tumblers off that back table?”

Those were the only words Eli had spoken to him all night since he’d stormed off to the office. Anytime Asa needed anything from Eli, he asked and the deed was done without a sound, gesture, or grimace. Nothing. What he wouldn’t give to take back whatever he’d done or said to send Eli over the edge. He didn’t care much for the chasm that grew between them as the night wore on. That hadn’t been his intention at all with his teasing. He’d only hoped to get Eli to smile or laugh, something that would crack the stony facade he always seemed to put up.

“Sure, boss,” he said lightly.

“Make sure to wipe it down too. Those yahoos were back there for several hours tonight.”

“Got it.” Did the man not think Asa knew how to do the job? And what the hell was up with scheduling them together the last few nights? Asa didn’t have an issue closing the bar with Eli—he just wasn’t sure why he was suddenly the chosen one. A small smile stretched his lips. It wasn’t the first and it wouldn’t be the last time he’d wonder if Eli returned his feelings. He didn’t know what was up with Eli and why he held everyone—especially Asa—at arm’s length, but Asa wasn’t planning on giving up either. He wanted Eli, even if he was grumpy most of the time. There was something riding him, something keeping him from getting close to anyone other than Malachi, the other bar owner, and Asa wished he knew what it was.

He grabbed the glasses from the table and made sure to wipe down the surface. Twice. The second time in a big show of effort so Eli wouldn’t have reason to question whether or not he’d done what he was told. The floor around the chairs was sticky and Asa didn’t want to know why, shuddering at the possibilities. Anything from sodas to spunk. All kinds of things took place in the back of a bar where no one could see unless they were right up on you.

“Everything all right?” Eli asked when Asa set the glasses on the bar top.

“Sure. Why wouldn’t it be?”

“Just checkin’.”

Asa shrugged. “Okay.” He headed for the back and returned with the mop bucket. Eli didn’t say anything else, but Asa knew if he turned his head, he’d find Eli staring a hole in his back. The soapy water in the bucket was clean to start with, but as the mopping concluded some minutes later, it was nothing but a dingy gray. This and the bathrooms were the parts of closing he could do without. He’d rather be in the kitchen washing a mountain of dishes than cleaning a bar bathroom.

“You ’bout done?”

Asa turned. Eli was half sitting, half leaning against one of the stools with his arms crossed over his chest, one booted foot hanging by the heel on a low rung. Eli’s hat sat low on his forehead and Asa nearly came in his jeans. Eli was the hottest man he’d ever wanted, and he’d wanted many men. He could admit to having been a slut—though a very safe slut when he first came out a few years ago—wanting to taste and touch and lick every gay cowboy he could get his greedy hands on. He could top or bottom, but what he really loved was a man’s arms tight around him, a rough whispered Southern drawl, a bit of facial scruff and a gruff voice. Give him all that and he was putty. Eli fit the bill perfectly.

“Yeah. Just gotta dump the water and I’ll be ready.”

“I gave you tomorrow night off.”

Asa whipped his head around. “What? Why? I don’t need it.” Eli was pulling even further away. Shit. The boss man was going to drive him completely insane.

Eli shrugged and tipped his hat back. “We don’t need you.”

“We? Or you?”

“Boy, I’m telling you now, you don’t want to go there.”

“Why not? Afraid of me?”

“Turn that question around.”

Asa scoffed. “You don’t scare me, Eli, and the all business all the time boss routine isn’t going to work.”

“I should scare you.”

“You scare yourself and you’re scared of me.”

“You’re a kid and my decision is based on nothing more than we are fully staffed tomorrow night.”

“You weren’t earlier.” Asa called Eli’s bluff.

“We are now.” Eli was nothing, if not stubborn.

“You can try to get rid of me all you want, but I’m not going anywhere.”

“I can fire you.”

“True. But you can’t keep me from coming back as a customer.”

Eli’s cheek twitched. Irritation. Asa had become inordinately good at pushing Eli’s buttons. It hadn’t been on purpose at first, but for weeks now, Eli had made it way too easy. Now Asa didn’t even have to try to worm his way under Eli’s skin.

“Just take the night off. Go out with friends. Have a good time. We’ll see you on your next shift.”

“What’s with all the ‘we’ and ‘we’ll’ crap? Don’t you mean you? You will see me on my next shift?”

“I’ll see you, but others will be here as well. Don’t take everything quite so personal. Nothing is meant by anything.”

“You’re kidding yourself, Eli. You know it and I know it. Every bit of it is personal. This attraction between us is very personal.”

“Go home.”

“Make me.”

Make sure to pick up your copy today!

~lissa

Author Friday – Cover Reveals, Blurbs, Release Dates

LissaLogoYellow_reasonably_small There are new releases coming up, starting on October 22nd. Three new stories, the second in a series, and one re-release.

There are release dates on all except the re-release and Slide Down On Me. Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be updating the website and giving you more information on my new series, Lone Star Sweets. (If you are so inclined, there is a Lone Star Sweets series page on Facebook that I’d love for you to Like)

I do have blurbs and covers for you, some of which you’ve seen, one or two that maybe you haven’t yet… Either way, here you go, in order of release…

 

 

Love and Tattoos, October 22nd…

Love&Tattoos_wlogo_200x300_300dpiA few years ago, Brax traded in his suit and law degree for part ownership in Love and Tattoos and he hasn’t looked back. Inked from head to toe, business smarts, and an affinity for loud music and hard sex, he’s got life right where he wants it.

Until the girl he can’t stop craving comes home.

Annie is lost and unsure how to find her way again. The corporate advertising firm she buttoned up her carefree personality for laid her off six months ago. Now her art is less than inspired, her sex life is nearly dead and buried, and the one thing worth having in the midst of her discontent is off limits.

One afternoon, Brax’s cockiness dares her to believe he knows her better than she knows herself and when he promises he can help her find what’s been missing, she reluctantly agrees to his little game. The challenge he lays out comes with a few strings, the suggestion of stripping, and the temptation of ink… But, they’ve never really been that close. How could she possibly lose?

 

The Cupcake Cowboy, Lone Star Sweets Book 1, November 19th…

CupcakeCowboy200x300Dear Readers,

My name is Jackson Dawson and I am The Cupcake Cowboy. I own and operate a cupcake truck in downtown San Antonio, Texas.

Born and raised on a cattle ranch a few miles outside San Antonio, I can rope, tie, ride, drive, and wrangle with the best of ‘em. It’s what my father does and what his father did before him. It’s what I was supposed to do too, only… I didn’t want it.
One thing you should know up front, is that I’m more stubborn than a mule and when I get something in my head, I don’t let go until I get it done.

You see, when I realized my little sister had a way off the ranch by way of making people happy with our grandma’s sticky buns, well, I figured I could learn a thing or two about food myself. I liked eating and I knew my way around cooking meals so, how hard could baking be?

I soon found out.

I wasn’t cut out for sticky buns. In fact, I was a downright disaster at it. Sam suggested I go to culinary school, see what I might be good at. Turns out it was cakes and cupcakes.
Culinary school is also where I met Cass. She was my Introduction to Pastry Arts instructor and honestly, I wouldn’t have cared what she taught so long as I got to be around her. I was head over heels the second she smiled. Her enthusiasm was a sight to behold and it drew me in like a moth to a flame.

You’ll like her. Cass is a good woman, smart as a whip, knows what she’s talking about, and I didn’t want to listen. Remember? More stubborn than a mule…

And that’s where this book, begins…

Our story will hit the presses November 19th.

Jackson

 

Eli’s Promise, The Bar Next Door Book 2, December 31st…

ElisPromise72webTime and distance have a way of sneaking up on feelings thought long buried.

The Bar Next Door, Book 2

Five years ago, Eli held the hand of his dying lover and made a promise he never intended to keep. Find someone new to love? Be happy? Fat chance. Eli’s happiness died that day. He’s doing well to put one foot in front of the other, much less risk his heart again.

The only thorn in his side is Asa, part-time waiter at The Bar Next Door, who can’t seem to take a hint.

After years of carrying more responsibility on his broad, cowboy shoulders than most people twice his age, Asa knows what he wants when he sees it. Eli. Shadows haunt the gorgeous older bartender, who also happens to be one of Asa’s bosses, but Asa doesn’t care about potential complications. He only wants to banish Eli’s ghosts—and bring Eli back to life.

Persistence, a little impatience, and Asa’s very wicked mouth go to work on Eli’s grumpy, prickly defenses. But Asa may have to block the door to love with his foot—or his heart—before Eli slams it in his face.

Warning: Beware of stubborn cowboys, sticky bar floors and hot sexy showers, eavesdropping cooks and well-meaning friends, Irish whiskey, and a young man who doesn’t understand the word no.

Pre-order Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo

 

Slide Down On Me, Release Date Unknown…

slidedownonme_msrSmall town mechanic and tattooed, bad boy Travis keeps his profile low, his needs satisfied outside the city limits, and his business running smoothly. He doesn’t cause trouble and he certainly doesn’t want any, only fallen from grace heiress Arabella Drake owes him money for work on her car. Due to her current circumstances, she can’t come up with the cash needed to pay for repairs.

Their situation requires a creative solution and while Bella desires respectability from her former wild child ways, Travis desires something very different. He offers a proposal, one that will, if not pay for the transmission and labor on her car, satisfy his long held wish to have Bella Drake naked, writhing, and sliding down on every inch of him.

In the new year, you can expect to see the following books:

The Sticky Cowgirl, Lone Star Sweets, Book 2 – January 2014
Exposed, Masked 4 – February 2014
The Tattooed Barista, Lone Star Sweets, Book 3 – March/April 201
Arrested Holiday will be re-released as soon as it becomes available to me from Loose Id. I will keep you updated.

So, if you’re a fan of my work, you have things to look forward to…

~lissa

Temptation Tuesday – Eli’s Promise

LissaLogoYellow_reasonably_smallEli’s Promise is the second book in The Bar Next Door series. It follows part-owner and bartender Eli as he struggles with his feelings for the young, hot buck Asa as well as his feelings about letting go of his lover Thad who’d passed away several years ago.

Eli is rough. He’s scared to let go and he’s scared to take a chance. This book is about the deathbed promise he made and the steps he takes or doesn’t take to fulfill it.

It’s also full of sass and vinegar. Malachi and Danny make appearances and all in all it was a fun book to write, hard at times, emotional, but fun.

Here’s a little (unedited still) taste…

“You won’t.”

Asa. God. How did the boy do that? How was he able to sneak up on Eli like that all the fucking time? “This has got to stop.”

Malachi laughed. “You’ve been off your game and out of the game for a while now.” He clapped a hand on Eli’s shoulder and headed out of the office. “I think it’s time you get back in it.”

Eli nodded and waited until Malachi was gone before he turned to face the man he wanted more than he wanted his the next breath. He held that air captive as he got a look at Asa.

Sweat dripped from his brow and the T-shirt he wore was plastered to his tan skin. Jeans hung low and his scuffed boots were crossed at his ankles. He could see the tail end of a red and white bandana hanging from a ripped back pocket and when Eli finished his perusal and met the bright green eyes again, a knowing smirk crossed Asa’s full lips.

“I don’t think you’ve been quite so frank in looking at me before. I think I kinda like it.”

“Yeah well, don’t let it go to your head.”

“Which head would that be?”

Eli chose to ignore the bait. He didn’t want to but it was best for the time being that he do so. “What are you doing here?”

“Unloading the beer.”

“Malachi said it wouldn’t be here for a couple hours.”

“Malachi lied.”

“Seems like it. He’s been helping you out, you realize that, right?”

“I do. It wasn’t a subtle helping out. He seemed to know when you needed the extra shove or push.”

The next words were going to be hard for him to part with… “I’m glad he has.” And then it was his turn to smile when Asa’s eyes widened. He moved toward the desk and leaned back against the solid wood surface. “This isn’t easy for me, Asa.” He tried for a casual stance, but found his hands tightly gripping the edges.

“I know. I mean, I don’t know, but, I know something isn’t easy for you.”

Eli nodded. Here goes nothing. “His name was Thad…” And down the road he went, sharing with Asa the details about the only man he’d ever loved, and at the time, the only man he could ever see himself loving and living life with. He kept his eyes on Asa, unwilling to break the contact, unwilling to forget who he was talking to, unwilling to get lost in the memories. It wasn’t easy and through some parts—he was close to breaking down—but he got it all out.

“How did he die?”

“Motorcycle accident. Car came out of nowhere. Thad was always trying something new and he’d always wanted to get a bike. They said the helmet was what kept him alive for the few days he lived afterward, but really, in the end it didn’t matter.”

“I’m sorry.”

The voice was soft, tender and nearly his undoing. “Thank you.” He found he meant it too. He wasn’t sure he felt that way in the past when people said those words, but he did with Asa.

“I don’t want to take his place,” Asa said, coming to stand in between Eli’s parted thighs.

“I know you don’t. I—”

“I just want you to give me a chance. You said he was my age when he died. I’m not him though, Eli. I’m me and I’m here, alive, and I want you.”

“I…” He tried to muster some objections, his tried and true lines of defense, but nothing came out. When he closed his mouth, Asa kissed him—sweet. It was so different than their other encounters and Eli savored the mere feel of Asa’s lips touching his.

“You’ve been through so much and you’re pretty young, too, to have gone through it. And look. You’re alive too.”

Eli just nodded. He didn’t have any words to add. Asa was right. He’d buried his lover and his hopes and dreams all at the same time before he was twenty-five. He’d had to grow up in a short span because the days were going to go by no matter what he wanted, even if that included dying too.

Thad woulda been so pissed had Eli taken his own life. “He made me promise that I’d find someone new one day.”

“Did he?”

Eli smiled. It was bittersweet, but it was the first smile he’d been able to offer when speaking of those last moments. “Yeah. He said he w-wouldn’t let go of the pain until I promised him that I’d find someone someday and let them love me.” As he spoke, Asa pried his fingers free of the desk and looped them through his belt loops. Eli gripped the thin pieces of denim as though they were the only things keeping him there.

“Hold onto me now. You can do the same thing. You can let go of the pain and hold on to me.”

The words, so kind and genuine, broke him. The kiss that followed made him hungry. The tears he didn’t even realize were falling were wiped away by rough, workman’s hands.

He pulled Asa closer, deep into the opening of his legs. They were both hard and warmth spread through his chest, his belly and he tangled his tongue with the younger man’s. Asa gave as good as he got and met each thrust with a parry of his own.

“Do you remember what I promised you?” Asa urged the question out through barely moving lips. He hadn’t lifted his head by much and Eli could see brown and copper flecks in the irises of Asa’s eyes.

“I do.” At the suggestion, his cock pulsed behind the placket of his jeans.

“Good.” Asa nudged himself at Eli. “See? This is what you do to me. Only you, Eli.”

“Asa, I…” But his words died when Asa dropped to his knees in front of the desk. His mouth dried up like a desert and he couldn’t do more than helplessly watch. He braced his hands again as Asa pulled at the button and let the zipper down.

“Fuckin’ hell.”

This book has a release date of December 10th.

Y’all have a great day!

~lissa

 

Author Friday

It’s been a busy writing week here at Casa Matthews. Actually, more like a busy revising week. Melting Jane is coming along really nice and I’m enjoying revisiting Cowboy Surfer Graham and candy maker Jane. I’ve been able to clean up their story a bit (don’t worry, it is still very naughty in the smex department), but removing extra words, making the writing tighter, adding a little more to their tale.

That is, I think, one of the great advantages to self-publishing…giving older stories new life and allowing them to find a new audience.

Look for Melting Jane near the end of the month… Even the blurb has gotten an update.

And in case you MISSED the cover…

Blurb:

Graham Hall is a twenty-six year old Texan with the job of his dreams: being a freelance travel writer for a national publication. He’s just finished his latest article and has earned some personal down time. With the six month lease not yet up on the small cabin in the Colorado Rockies, he decides to stick around the area for a while and in the process, finds himself agreeing to a blind date with a feisty, down on her luck in the love department, candy maker named Jane.

After all, what could it hurt?

Jane, completely oblivious to the set up, arrives at Graham’s isolated little valley cabin to deliver a box of her handmade Chocolate Kick truffles. From the moment Graham opens the door, Jane is tongue tied and ticked off. Edward, her business partner and most certainly former best friend, has set her up. When she regains her ability to put two coherent words together, plus size, mid-thirties Jane apologizes for intruding and assures Graham that she will take care of the mistake.

What ensues is a series of encounters and confrontations between Jane and Edward, Jane and Graham, and Edward and Graham. At the heart of it all, is Jane’s happiness. Edward wants this for her more than anything. Graham finds himself caught up in her tart tongue and curvy body and isn’t about to call his all too real pursuit a failure, no matter how many times she says no.

With her inability to continue denying herself the man she affectionately refers to as Cowboy Surfer in her head, she gives in and is rewarded with scorching hot sex and a lot of follow-up phone calls after she learns the truth of Graham’s attraction. His persistence leads Jane to believe that life doesn’t have to revolve around chocolate truffles, but rather should revolve around a delicious, well traveled and well built younger man.

Even I want to read the book! Grins…

Today, however, I am not working on Melting Jane. I am instead doing a little challenge, self imposed, but a challenge nonetheless… a Book In A Day! There are little challenges like this that take place, usually it’s a Book In A Weekend, or a Book In A Week. Mine is a short story, 8-10K, so doing it in a day isn’t going to be the problem. No, the problem will come Saturday when I’m unable to string two words together and have them make any kind of sense. My wee little brain will be fried.

The title for this book is Eli’s Promise, and it’s the second book in my Bar Next Door series, which will be coming out with Samhain Publishing sometime in the near future.

So, I need to get started. Y’all have a great day!

~lissa