Love Bytes is delighted and honered to host the Exclusive Cover Reveal for T.J. Masters his new upcoming novel “Bear Among the Books”, releasing sept 2nd at Dreamspinner Press.
Besides showing us the wonderful cover T.J. tells us an intro about the book , shares and excerpt and brought along a giveaway!
Welcome T.J. 🙂
I am happy today to reveal the cover of my latest novel Bear Among the Books which will be released by my publisher Dreamspinner Press on 2nd September. Writing this book allowed me to pull together several tropes which held particular significance to me. As a school teacher the whole area of literacy and the teaching of reading in particular were important. I also have experience with the ‘bear and boy’ scenario which is much more common than many would like to think. Above all it is a story of diverse people who find and ‘fix’ each other with the help of a support network of what we might call chosen family. Of course the most important non-human character in the story is the library itself which becomes a catalyst for learning, for lust and for love.
HERE IT IS!
Forty-eight-year-old Ben Thompson is a librarian, a passionate book lover, and a man who embodies the definition of a bear. He’s also lonely after the loss of his long-term partner. Young ex-gymnast Jason Barnes piques his interest, but Ben quickly realizes there’s more to Jason than his good looks. While Jason visits the library almost every day, he never checks out a book.
With gentle persistence, Ben befriends Jason and learns the nineteen-year-old’s tragic secrets. After years of abuse at his father’s hands, Jason was kicked out of his family home for being gay. And despite his apparent love of books, Jason never learned to read. Ben offers to teach him, and the two men bond over their lessons. Ben can’t deny his attraction to Jason, but he wonders if Jason is too young and too handsome to return his interest. With the help of the close-knit library team and Jason’s growing self-confidence, they move beyond the books and into the bedroom, where their own story is just beginning.
Wednesdays were always the quietest day in the library.
I’d never really worked out why that was, but I was grateful for a day in the middle of the week where I could catch up with the multitude of admin tasks which were an unavoidable part of the head librarian’s job. I’d long ago developed a loathing for working in an enclosed space, so, upstairs, my office was an open area at the back of the mezzanine floor.
I was trawling through a small backlog of e-mails when the sound of footsteps came from the spiral staircase to my left. A concerned-looking Daisy strode purposefully across the floor in my direction. Daisy was my senior assistant and the most able librarian we had. Slightly older than my forty-eight years, this all-too-serious woman still lived at home with her elderly parents. The library and her garden were probably the major loves of her life. We shared a passion for books, but with one major difference where the library was concerned: I believed in this as a place for people to interact with books in every possible way. Daisy, on the other hand, saw the library as a repository for books in ordered rows on shelves. For her, the people were something of a nuisance. People came into the library and took books off the shelves; even worse, they took them home to read. Now it was clear that something had ruffled Daisy’s carefully preened feathers, or more likely someone had.
Leaning over my desk to whisper in her best conspiratorial tone, she declared, “He’s in again.”
Now clearly I was supposed to know who “he” was, and was expected to do something about it. I tried to mirror her anxiety in order to show some empathy without laughing out loud. “Who’s in, Daisy?”
“That boy. That young good-for-nothing that I told you about last week.”
Some vague memories surfaced. I had returned from a morning off, to be confronted by Daisy in a high state of anxiety. It seemed that some young hooligan had come into the library and spent the whole morning wandering around, looking at the books, and had even touched a good many of them! Eventually he left without checking any books out, but he was clearly up to no good in the eyes of the ever-vigilant assistant librarian.
“Oh yes. That’s right, you did tell me about him. Is it the same lad?”
“Yes, definitely. He’s wearing one of those hoodie things. Look, I’ll show you, but you need to do something, Ben.”
That settled it. If said hoodlum was wearing a hoodie, then he must be at the very least a serial killer or even a bomb-wielding terrorist. I rose from my chair and followed Daisy to the rail overlooking the library floor below. After a quick scan of the room, Daisy nudged me in the ribs and pointed below. “There he is.”
I looked in the direction she was pointing and spotted the lad off to the right in front of the bookshelves in the natural history section. Up to this point, my whole approach had been about humoring my anxious and conspiratorial assistant. Now my attitude changed to one of genuine interest. During our previous discourse, I suppose I’d created a snappy image of some scruffy youth with long untidy dark hair and shabby clothes. He should no doubt be hunched over a physics book, trying to memorize the inner workings of an atomic bomb.
Instead, to my surprise, a very well-groomed young man with short, neatly trimmed blond hair was studying his book. He wore immaculately clean, well-fitting clothes. Very well fitting, in fact, since from our current vantage point, he appeared to be a very fit and good-looking lad. As we watched, our intruder selected a book from the shelf before him and turned toward the tables in the center of the room. It was hard to see any details from our elevated viewpoint, but he appeared to be very fresh-faced and aged in his late teens or early twenties. The hooded sweatshirt made it hard to see his upper body shape, but as he walked across the floor, well-muscled legs filled his jeans.
Author T.J. Masters recently and somewhat reluctantly passed his 60th birthday. After a long and happy teaching career T.J. wanted to follow a new path before senility set in. Books and stories have been a lifelong passion and there are many tales waiting to be told.
As a happily partnered gay man T.J. chooses to write what he knows best. His overactive and ever exploring mind is probably described by the Oscar Wilde quote that “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars”.
T.J. brought along a backlist title to giveaway to one of our readers
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