<— Sapphire Storm (Sapphire Cove Book 3)by C. Travis Rice/ Christopher Rice (Anne Rice’s son!!) IS LIVE!! THEY CROSSED PATHS DURING A LIFE CHANGING EVENT!!And to celebrate this release, Christopher (as well as his publisher, Blue Box Press) are sponsoring today’s newsletter!
The author says:
How did we get to three books in the #SapphireCove series already?
It seems like just yesterday the world had closed, everyone was terrified and I was writing my way into a beautiful, sun drenched land of #malemale #gayromance to keep from losing my mind.
That’s how the series was born.
I hope some of you can join me and my good friend (and publisher) @sillyjillystein over on the @1001darknights_blueboxpress IG feed as we celebrate the release of Ethan and Roman’s #enemiestolovers #agegap love story. I’ll be joining from London, where @ericshawquinn and I will be celebrating our March birthdays. I promise to put something British in the background even though it’ll be 11 PM there. (Or three hundred and whatever o’clock, or however the Europeans say it.) #ctravisrice #lgbtromance #queerromance #queerromancenovels #lgbtq
So what’s it about?
Under his new pen name, C. Travis Rice, New York Times bestselling author Christopher Rice offers tales of passion, intrigue, and steamy romance between men. The third novel, SAPPHIRE STORM, once again transports you to a beautiful luxury resort on the sparkling Southern California coast where strong-willed heroes release the shame that blocks their hearts’ desires.
Ethan Blake has dedicated his life to satisfying other people’s appetites. At forty-three, he’s finally landed his dream job—head pastry chef at an exclusive resort. Now he’s got a jet-setting career that’s taken him to romantic locations all over the world. But years before, after his parents threw him out for being gay, Ethan supported himself in a manner he’d rather keep under the covers today.
Roman Walker is a twenty-five-year-old fitness celebrity awash in thirsty followers. But when he walks through the doors of Sapphire Cove, it’s not just to oversee the menu for his celebrity client’s wedding. Decades ago, Roman and Ethan crossed paths on a New York street corner during a terrible, life-changing moment that scarred them both. Now Roman’s back for revenge.
But when his plan goes wildly off the rails, Roman suddenly finds himself at the center of an even stranger and darker plot concocted by his most famous client. Well-versed in the ways of the wealthy and the entitled, Roman’s former target offers to be his strongest ally during a moment that might derail the young man’s newfound career. But the experienced older man’s offer also ignites an irresistible and forbidden attraction that threatens to consume them both, even as it exposes old secrets and incurs the wrath of the powerful and the famous.
“You first,” he finally said. “Why’d you quit escorting?”
“You,” Ethan answered softly, even as saying the word aloud made him feel like there was a tremor deep inside his gut that might slowly but steadily send cracks running through him from head to toe. “I quit because of you.”
Roman looked too stunned to speak.
“I quit because I couldn’t stop seeing your face on that street corner. But I was still about fifteen grand short of what I needed to finish culinary school, so I flew back to South Carolina and I confronted the parents who banished me like I had the plague after I refused to renounce my sexuality for the benefit of their church friends. I told them they could either write me a check for the difference or I could set up shop in their backyard. I already had it on good authority that I’d have some pretty steady clients among their church friends.”
Roman seemed stunned by the answer. When it was clear Ethan wasn’t going to say more, he broke the silence. “What did your parents do?”
“They wrote me a check, and I was on my way.” It had been years since he’d told this story to anyone, and he’d only ever told it twice. He wasn’t prepared for how hollowed out and exhausted he’d feel once the words left him. Years since he’d ever had to see anyone react the way Roman was reacting now, wincing and making sad eyes over the heartless efficiency of the exchange. It was easier to keep your pain stuffed deep down when you never had to see anyone else react to hearing it for the first time.
“Did you ever talk to them again?” Roman asked softly.
“I believe you said you’d answer my question when I answered yours.”
Roman sucked in a deep breath and stared down into his now empty glass. “She didn’t mean it but…”
“It was about my mom. She said I should do it because my mom would want me to live at my fullest potential, or whatever. And that’s when I realized I just…can’t be…”
“Can’t be what?”
Tears slipped down his face. “Homeless. Broke. Couch surfing. Again. Everything I saw in her eyes when I told her I was quitting school, when I told her I was throwing everything she’d given me down the drain.” He shot to his feet.
“Roman, sit. Please.”
“No. Look, this is what I have to do, okay? And I know you don’t approve, and I know you think I’ll fuck it up or lose my mind or whatever, but I’ve got no choice, okay? And I’m sorry if asking you to talk to me like this was inappropriate. But it’s my life, and I have to make my own decisions.”
“I understand, but Roman—”
He was striding toward the door on his powerful legs.
When the entry door swung shut behind him, Ethan sprang from his feet, but by the time he reached the parking lot, the Bentley’s taillights were shrinking into the dark.
He pulled out his phone.
I would never judge you.
He didn’t expect a response, but he was staring down at his phone, wondering if he’d been too hard on the guy. And wondering simultaneously if he should have tried harder to stop him.
A guy he’d dated in France a few years back had yelled at him during one of their many fights that he needed to learn the difference between protecting someone and suffocating them. Where did tonight fall on the scale?
You are not dating that young man, Ethan Blake. He was tempted to ignore the voice in his head because it sounded like his late mother’s. Imperious and dismissive and cold. But the only way to drown it out was to imagine taking Roman into his arms, holding him there, protecting him.
Guiding him to the bed…
Finally, he added.
Let me know when you get home safe. And never feel like you can’t call me.
He snagged a Diet Coke in a to-go cup and hit the road.
He was almost home when his phone chimed with a new text
When he reached the driveway for his parking lot, he stopped, knowing he’d lose cell service the second he descended under the building.
No matter what happens, your mother, wherever she is, is proud of you. Never forget that. I can hear it in all the stories you tell about her.
Unlike mine, he thought. When his vision misted and he found himself blinking back tears, he was shocked. He sat frozen behind the wheel before a neighbor’s headlights swung into alignment with his car.
As he opened the door to his apartment, he saw he had another text from Roman.
You’re a good man, Ethan Blake.
Given their history, the words meant far more coming from Roman Walker than they would anyone else.
He slept more peacefully than he thought he would. Until about three in the morning, when he woke from a dream of Roman Walker snuggling into bed next to him, whispering the words of his last text into his ear, their bodies entwined and grasping beneath the covers.