Thanks for hosting me today as part of my blog tour for Prelude to Love, a Dreamspun Desire novel from Dreamspinner Press.
I have a Rafflecopter running as part of the tour so be sure to enter.
My last few posts on the tour have been research and location centric, and have mentioned Marcus and Joel meeting for an ice cream at Oriental Bay in Wellington. I’m sharing part of that scene with you today as an exclusive excerpt here on Love Bytes Reviews:
Joel saved the file he was working on and closed his laptop. He grabbed his wallet and headed out the door. Nannerl glanced at him from her favorite spot under one of the bushes by the front door, then went back to sleep again.
He reached for a CD to listen to, then decided on the radio instead. Hearing the voices of the DJs gave the illusion of having company for the drive, and he was in the mood for some humorous banter. He’d chosen some music for the concert, but the only arrangements available for orchestra were too difficult for the kids to play. He’d have to simplify them, but not too much. His students would enjoy a challenge, but if it was too difficult, he’d scare them off.
The traffic wasn’t too bad for a Sunday afternoon, and he was soon on the Esplanade heading toward the motorway and Wellington city. People sunbathed on the beach, and kids splashed in the water with their parents. One of these days, he’d find the time to go swimming in the sea again. He hadn’t done it in years, but the warm weather made the glistening water seem very inviting.
A train rambled past him as he changed motorway lanes for Aotea Quay. Another ten minutes and a couple of red traffic lights later, and Joel approached Oriental Bay. Finding a car park took a bit longer than he’d expected, so he had a good five-minute walk to reach Freyberg Pool. He dug out his phone and sent Isabel a quick text with his ETA.
Joel let out a contented sigh as he walked. This was exactly what he’d needed. A few minutes out in the sunlight and the feel of the cool sea breeze against his skin had washed away all the tension he’d felt earlier that afternoon. By the time he reached the yacht club a couple of hundred meters from the pool, he’d decided he needed to schedule some downtime into his weekend. Even if it was just a walk along the beach and sitting on the wall, watching children playing in the sand. He’d buried himself in his work for too long and forgotten what it meant to stop and smell the flowers, or in this case, the brisk scent of ocean on a summer’s day.
He saw Isabel waving and sped up his pace. “Issy!” he called.
The man standing with her, looking out at the ocean, turned in surprise as Joel approached.
“Joel,” said Marcus. “What a pleasant surprise. What are you doing here?”
Joel skidded to a halt. “Marcus? I didn’t know you were here with Darin and Isabel.” It was a nice surprise but odd that Isabel hadn’t mentioned it.
“Darin?” Marcus frowned. “Darin’s at home with Ella. It’s just me and Isabel here.” He gave his niece a look. “This isn’t just a coincidence, is it?”
“Why, Uncle Marcus,” Isabel said, “I don’t know what you mean. I never told Uncle Joel I was out with Daddy. If he made that assumption, it’s hardly my fault.”
“Of course it’s not.” Joel began to smell a child-sized rat. “Sorry, Marcus,” he said. “She invited me here, but I thought it was to have ice cream with her and Darin.”
Marcus gave Joel a repeat of the smile from the day before, and his voice suddenly softened. “Is it a problem that it’s with me instead?”
Joel ignored the way his heart sped up in response. “No,” he said, his mouth suddenly too dry. “No, of course not. It’s perfect weather for an ice cream and a walk on the beach, and this break from work is just what I need.”
Music speaks directly to the heart.
Two very different men face turning points in their lives after the collapse of long-term relationships….
Joel is a music teacher who knows it’s time to forget his ex and move on, while Marcus runs a lawn-mowing business and has come to Wellington to escape the reminders of a recent breakup. Although they’re opposites, when Joel and Marcus connect, their romance has the potential to hit all the right notes.
Too bad neither of them feels ready for new love.
With family and friends in common, dating is risky—things could get messy if it doesn’t work out. The sweet song of possibility draws them to each other, though, and they share a kiss following a Chopin prelude. But it will take some practice and perseverance to find their perfect harmony….
You can find the list of sites taking part in the blog tour here:
Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with two cats who are convinced that the house is run to suit them; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date it appears as though the cats may be winning. In 2008 she completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra. She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts other authors, reviews for the GLBTQ Historical Site “Our Story” and Top2Bottom Reviews, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes.
Anne’s books have received honorable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best gay book—and been a runner up in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical.
Website & Blog: http://annebarwell.wordpress.com/
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