Hello and Happy New Year!
Thank you, Jana, for having me to celebrate the start of 2019 and the release of my latest MM Romance!
Bryan, the main character in Always Forward! Never Straight, is a nerd. That’s what he calls himself, anyway. To the rest of the world (the story world!) he’s a tech whiz hermit, so I had to give him something cool to invent. Every tech start-up has to have an idea, a spark that sets them apart from the others. But I’m no tech whiz (although I do love tech toys!) so I went through a few ideas before deciding which one would be BaxCo’s signature, their golden ticket to start-upsville. Here are two of those, deleted from early drafts, as described by Bryan.
“My Voice” app that filters your voice with the press of a button. Actually, it’s a sliding scale. You drag your finger between “male: young” and “female: young” and the other scale drags between “male: mature” and “female: mature”. There’s a setting for everyone on “MyVoice” and you can have more than one pre-set too, to cover you no matter who you’re talking with.
“Just Friends” app matching LGBTQIA+ users for things like concerts and movie nights, all without actually outing anyone who wanted (or needed) to stay on the d-l. (Oh. My. God. You didn’t just think that. You’re too old for expressions like “on the downlow”. You don’t even know if it’s all one word or hyphenated.)
Obviously, I’d buy either of those in a hot minute!
Now here’s an excerpt where he ponders the tech toy that made the cut and is featured in the story. Stick around after the excerpt and comment about an app or a tech toy you’d like to see invented. Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter!
Sponsors got to park in a special lot, so once I navigated the traffic—thick even by Portland standards for a Saturday morning—it wasn’t much of a walk to get to the starting line. The usual crowd had gathered: serious runners who looked like a half marathon would be a cakewalk, slightly doughy folks like me who seemed as spooked as I felt, and people wearing regular street clothes, whose plan aligned with what mine would have been a year ago—listening to the music and avoiding the exercise portion of the day.
Children ran around laughing, wearing new and often matching running gear. No teenagers I could see, which was disappointing. Teenagers were an untapped demographic for my—or rather, BaxCo’s—drone butler, Alfred. His main function was to patrol the perimeter of a property, but he could hover over a pot of boiling water or watch a driveway for parents to arrive if that’s what you needed him to do. Alfred could watch just about anything you didn’t have time to watch yourself.
Ugh, I’m playing BaxCo’s YouTube commercials in my head; that’s gotta be a new low.
I walked along the race course to the first stage, where my sponsorship dollars proudly proclaimed that BaxCo cared about the environment.
We didn’t draw the best location, but maybe that wouldn’t matter. Some of the crowd had come for the music and not the exercise—hopefully they would spend enough time at the first stage to recycle something. The green and black logo had been designed for optimal marketing impact—brand recognition—it was boring and generic and, in my opinion, didn’t say anything at all. I caught the negativity of my internal monologue and resolved not to think about BaxCo for the rest of the day. While I stood there, bemoaning the placement of three glorified garbage cans with the company’s logo, the race started.
After the serious runners passed me, I began to run. Okay, jog. I intended to make a real effort to participate in the race. I’d trained and psyched myself up for weeks—promotional opportunity aside. I casually scoped all the runners, not actually looking for anyone, content to do some people-watching. I snickered at myself because secretly I hoped to hook up with one of the men blowing past me, to have their slender, muscled bodies pressed against mine, their lung capacity put to good use—
I almost swallowed my tongue when a tall, striking man pulled up alongside me. His arm brushed against mine, and even though skin didn’t touch skin—he wore a long-sleeved shirt, no doubt a technologically advanced fiber meant to wick the sweat away from his skin, probably as it gave him a massage and helped combat climate change—I felt an electric shock at the contact. It actually crackled.
He turned, one eyebrow raised, and smiled. “Did you feel that?”
“Um, yeah.” I tried to keep up, even though men like him—svelte athletic types who can pull off trendy shaved-on-the-side-and-longer-on-top haircuts—didn’t usually notice plain, out-of-shape nerds like me.
His handsome face creasing in concern. “Sorry. If the spark came from me.”
Fuck, he’s hot.
“N-no problem. No harm done. It was probably me.”
I shocked myself all the time—literally, not figuratively. I led the most boring life imaginable and rarely left my apartment unless forced. Pavement doesn’t exactly possess the same properties that make carpet and wool socks generate static electricity, but it still could have been me. Just looking at this man gave me a charge.
He seemed like he wanted to say something else, but he smiled instead. His blue eyes held as much flash as the actual static that had passed between us.
“Cay.” He held out his hand, and we shook.
“Bryan.” The breathless quality of my voice had little to do with the running. Or at least that’s what it felt like. “Kay, as in Sir Kay, the knight?” I don’t know how I was able to grin at him, but I did.
“No.” He chuckled. The rich sound of his voice set something alight inside me I hadn’t heard from in years. “C-A-Y. As in Cayman. Like the islands.”
He gave me a look, and it took a moment to realize he was serious. Luckily, that happened before I tripped on anything or ran into anyone. “So, is your sister’s name Aruba?”
“No. That’s my brother.” He turned to face forward for a few paces and then shot me a wink.
That wink made me stumble. I’m in trouble.
Media Kit: Always Forward! Never Straight by Charley Descoteaux
Love isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.
Baxter Bryan is the nerdy half of BaxCo, a start-up in Portland’s Silicon Forest creating cutting-edge high-tech toys. He’s also a hermit. When BaxCo sponsors the Portland Rock and Roll Half Marathon, Bryan decides to break out of his comfort zone and do more than listen to the music with a beer in hand. The race has barely started when he bumps into a fit, handsome man, causing sparks to fly. But the long hours needed to make BaxCo a success aren’t the only reason Bryan spends most of his time alone in his apartment.
Cay Nissen runs every day to stay in shape. He would love to run away from his job in a Silicon Forest cube farm, but keeps returning to support his teenaged daughter. His true love is music. Cay writes songs for the band he helped form in high school but doesn’t see any way to turn music into a career. The half marathon seemed like a decent way to pass a Saturday, make his boss happy, and catch a performance of his old band all at the same time. When he meets a man who sparks his interest, the safety of his cubicle isn’t the only part of his life that’s in jeopardy of changing.
Buy Always Forward! Never Straight or read free on Kindle Unlimited
Amazon Universal Link: mybook.to/AlwaysForward
About the Author:
Charley Descoteaux is the author of the Buchanan House Love Stories. Book One was a USA Today Must-Read Romance.
Charley has always heard voices. She was relieved to learn they were fictional characters, and started writing when they insisted daydreaming just wasn’t good enough. In exchange, they’ve agreed to let her sleep once in a while. Charley has survived earthquakes, tornadoes, and floods, but couldn’t make it through a single day without stories.
Rattle Charley’s cages:
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/CharleyDescoteauxAuthor/
Publisher: CeeTwo Publications
Release Date: January 1, 2019
Cover Artist: Rainbow Danger Designs