Monday, July 26, 2021

July Heat - now available!


July 26, 2021

July Heat is now available! It's finally uploaded to Amazon and ready to go! I'm very pleased to have this one finished and "out the door," although I was sad to say 'see ya later' to the characters. The best thing about creating a fictional community is going back and visiting with previous characters, bringing them forward into new stories with a mix of old and new friends. It's a good bet Drew and Morgan, Mick and Logan, and Memphis and Jake will pop up again when I revisit Centerville. But first I'm heading west to the Bar RC Ranch to visit Regan and Wythe.

Until then, here's a bit about July Heat.




July Heat
Book 3 in the Centerville Muscle series

Drew Bernard’s life was shattered in a single, breathless moment. His one action made reconciliation with his family impossible. He can’t change it, but he’s determined to move his life forward and not be defined by a single, horrific moment. When a friend reaches out to him with the offer of a place to stay and a temporary job, Drew makes the move to Centerville.

Morgan Osborne made choices for the benefit of his son, but now the child is a grown man and determined to sever all ties with him – except for the monetary ones. When an unsuspecting Drew witnesses a particularly heated exchange, Morgan makes his apologies and ends up asking Drew to go out with him. 

Drew is drawn to Morgan, but he’s afraid to trust his heart. His vision of his new life never included someone like Morgan, someone who would need to know the truth. 


All clean and shiny, I hoped to snap a quick nap before my dinner date. I expected a call or text from Morgan to let me know what time he’d pick me up. I didn’t anticipate a knock on the door. I pulled on a pair of faded blue jean shorts and opened the front door to find Morgan standing there.

He looked me over, his gaze going up and down and back up again. He finally looked me in the eye. “Wow. You have the nicest…eyes.”

I laughed in spite of myself. “It wasn’t my baby blues you were looking at, Osborne. I know what you’re really interested in.”

“Can’t get much by you. Hey. Your eyes are brown.” He narrowed his eyes and gave me a fake glare. “Okay. I get the joke. I, um, was driving by…on my way home… and I saw your car. Is six too early for tonight?”

“How’d you know it was my car?”

He grinned and flicked his thumb over his shoulder toward the driveway. “Pfft. Mick Ambrose wouldn’t own something like that, that’s how. And it has a Virginia license plate.”

I laughed. “Fair enough. So where are we going tonight?”

“There’s this little authentic Greek place over in Easton I like. It’s very casual, but the atmosphere is great, and the food is even better.”

“Cool. I’d invite you in--”

“No. No, I don’t want to put you on the spot like that.”

We stared at each other for a moment, but neither of us spoke. Whatever Logan thought about the man it was obvious Morgan knew and wouldn’t cross some imaginary line. The problem was I didn’t want Morgan to drive away now that he was here.

I rolled the dice. “We could start the evening early.”

I swear the man’s ears pricked up like a collie. “I’ll just wait in the truck while you get dressed.”

With that, he was down the steps, nimble as a mountain goat and twice as fast. I scratched my chin. I’d wanted to trim the beard but that might take too long.

It was a good thing I’d already decided what to wear. I dressed in record time and slowed down long enough to quickly run the trimmer over my face. In less than ten minutes I’d made myself presentable, sent Logan a text, and was out the door and into Morgan’s pickup, the one with Osborne Mechanical, Inc. emblazoned in big gold letters on the doors. 

I fastened the seat belt. “What’s first on our list?”

“Did you have lunch?”

“Yep, and even if I didn’t, it’s too close to our dinner time to eat. Or are you trying to fatten me up for some nefarious purpose?”

He slowed for a stop sign, made a right turn, and accelerated. “My purposes are all legal and above board. Our first stop is at my place so I can freshen up. I didn’t expect you’d suggest we spend the afternoon together.”

I shivered as a sudden vision of us naked on a bed and bathed in sunlight flashed through my mind. It had been a long time since I entertained thoughts of having sex again.

“What’s wrong, brown eyes? You already regretting coming out to play?”

“Not at all.” I glanced at the large brick and stone houses, set well back from the street behind mature oaks and maples. “Swanky neighborhood.”

“It used to be, back in my grandparent’s day. Now it’s gone middle-class.”

“Is that a bad thing?”

“Not at all. That was a poor choice of words. I guess it would be more politically correct to say we now have a lot of diversity on the street, but still good families.”

I glanced sideways at him. I suspected he’d come of age in a time when words were just words and not considered a social judgment.

“Good families with money?”

“Well, Drew, here’s the thing. The local historical society has its talons deep into this little enclave, so yeah. You have to have some money to abide by their dictates as to what you can do with the property you own.”

He turned left and we passed through a set of wrought iron gates flanked by simple square fieldstone pillars. A mortared fieldstone fence, about six feet in height, was built along an east-west line and I suspected the wall surrounded the entire property. The paved driveway curved gently to the left and the massive stone house came into view.

The center section of the house was two stories tall and flanked by wings on either side. I guessed it was built in the nineteenth century and had been added to over the years. I must have been thinking loudly.

“My great-great-grandfather built this place in the mid-eighteen-sixties. It’ll be Jason’s someday, not that he’ll appreciate the history of the place or his family.”

“Is having someone to pass this legacy on to why you married and had Jason?” Fuck. I put my hand on his knee. “I’m sorry. That was inappropriate of me.”

Morgan didn’t respond as he pulled the truck in behind the house and backed it into a spot with practiced ease. I started to panic that I’d offended him. My question bordered on why he’d tried to deny being gay, and the whys of it weren’t any of my business. I was on the verge of apologizing when he patted my hand.

“It’s okay. The answer to that is yes.”

It hadn’t been that simple and I knew it. 


July Heat
Book 3 in the Centerville Muscle series
Available at
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