Release Blitz, Excerpt & Giveaway:
Forever, Con Amor
By A.M. Johnson
For Him, Book 4
I never in a million years thought I would want a guy who smells like a tree and probably hugs them on the daily, but alas, you’ve somehow snuck your sexy, khaki-covered ass into my life. It doesn’t help that we’re stuck living in this apartment together for God knows how long, but I can’t stop thinking about that kiss. I know I said it was one and done, and maybe that’s the smart thing to do since I’m not convinced of your emotional availability. Maybe I’m a masochist. Or, maybe I might kind of like you. I said what I said.
No regrets, Marcos~
Your ability to simultaneously compliment and insult me is probably one of my favorite things about you. I think it’s part of your charm. Does that make me a masochist as well? I definitely like to torture myself. The night I kissed you, I knew it had the potential to push you away, but I couldn’t stop myself from wanting you. I still can’t. You can flirt and bully me all you like. I’m not going anywhere. I’ve finally found my home, and it’s here. And just in case you need me to be more specific, I like you too.
Forever, con amor…
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I scrolled through the app feed, looking at pictures of well-placed books, and poses, and puckered, bored expressions. Why were all my friends so pretentious? I flipped to my profile. God, why was I so pretentious? I snapped a quick selfie and stared at it. My dark curls were wayward at best, my face was makeup free, the bridge of freckles, marching over my nose were on full display. I looked like shit. Hungover and tired. I didn’t think a twenty-four-year-old was supposed to look haggard.
“No more booze,” I whispered to myself and posted the picture to my feed with the hashtags late night and worth it.
The last one was a lie. The club scene, as fun as it could be, had started to wear out its welcome. I set my phone on the mattress and got out of bed. My bones ached as I stretched them over my head and yawned. Definitely not worth it. Swearing when I caught a look at the clock on the nightstand, I rummaged through my closet faster than I liked and decided on cut-off shorts and a vintage Suzanne Vega t-shirt. Slipping my feet into my Bella Lou gladiator sandals, I thought I looked decent enough for the halls of my shitty little state college.
I grabbed my phone and was about to put it into my back pocket when I remembered why I’d opened Instagram in the first place. My thumb swiped over the smooth glass, the screen lighting up as I flipped to the account I had checked every morning since last November. It was an addiction, at least that sounded better than calling myself a stalker. It wasn’t my fault his feed was aesthetically pleasing and that the random shit he posted made me want to unravel him even more. His personality was a mystery. It by no means meant I wanted him.
Chance Davenport aka @a_twist_0f_fate and conveniently the new director at Pride House, the youth shelter where I happened to volunteer my time. This was all Parker’s fault, if I were being honest. He worked at Pride House, too, and every year the staff and residents put together and performed a play for charity. Last year I helped Parker out with the annual production, designing costumes and lending my makeup expertise. I’d thought I’d do my part and be done, working with kids wasn’t my thing. I was a design major, for fuck’s sake. But once I’d started and met the residents, I’d never admit it to a single soul, but I was smitten. The kids reminded me so much of myself at their age. Like me, these kids had been forced into the system and onto the streets by families who’d rather disown their blood than have a kid in the alphabet mafia. Every experience was different, every life unique, but I saw myself in their eyes. The hunger. The fear. The things we’d had to do to survive. Shit like that bruised you in places no one would ever see.
Chance hadn’t posted any hashtags, just a picture and his usual quote of the day. Today it was something from Aristotle.
“One swallow does not make a summer, neither does one fine day; similarly one day or brief time of happiness does not make a person entirely happy.”
I stared at the simple snapshot of a river, the Spanish moss hung low from the branches of a tree, skimming the surface of the water. The sun hadn’t quite fully risen, the air steaming along the bank. I wondered if he’d taken the picture today. Had he woken up early with the intention of capturing this moment? Did he live near the river? Had he camped there overnight? Was he alone? And more importantly, why in the hell would anyone get up that early on purpose? The man was a riddle, and goddammit, I was going to figure him out.
“Are you stalking my boss again?” Parker asked and I almost dropped my phone.
“¡Dios mío! You’re lucky I didn’t hit you and spill that coffee all over your frat boy gym shorts.” I put my phone in my pocket and he handed me a paper to-go cup, the sides almost too hot to hold. “Haven’t I taught you how to knock?”
“You mean like the time you didn’t knock when I was taking a shit last week, or when you didn’t knock and caught Van giving me head, or the time when—”
“I got it. You really should learn to lock a door. I’ve become way too familiar with your dick.”
“You’re welcome.” He smirked and sipped from his own cup. “What did he post today?”
“I don’t know?” I lied and snuck past him, heading for the bathroom to brush my teeth.
Right on my heels, Parker followed me, and I started to regret how I used to do the same shit to him. And by used to, I meant that I still did, almost every day, pester him incessantly, but whatever. I set my cup on the counter and grabbed my toothbrush. He leaned in the doorway, running a hand through his short blond hair, and watched me with his shrewd blue eyes.
“What?” I mumbled around my toothbrush before spitting into the sink.
“Chance. What did he post today?”
“God, you’re annoying.”
He smiled at me as I turned back to the sink. “You like him.”
“I don’t like anyone.”
“You like me.”
He laughed and took a sip of coffee before he spoke again. “You like him. He’s got the whole quiet, introverted, more than meets the eye, big lumberjack vibe. It’s hot. I get it.”
“Lumberjack? You mean tree-hugging hippy vibe.”
“I don’t think hippies have muscles like that, Basulto.”
I rolled my eyes and wiped my mouth. “He probably lives in a tent and eats kale.”
“You eat kale.”
“Never. Take that back.”
Cracking up, he held his stomach as I tapped my toothbrush against the sink with more aggression than necessary and put it away. “You look at his Instagram every day and don’t even lie. I’ve seen you do it in class. You tease him like it’s your life goal to make the man feel insecure about everything he wears. Which, by the way, the fact he hasn’t fired me for originally asking you to volunteer in the first place is a testament to his loyalty.”
“I don’t like him.” I pushed past him, almost spilling my coffee. “He’s like forty.”
He chuckled and followed me into the living room. “He’s thirty-five, I think, only a couple of years older than Van. Thank you very much. God, you’re basically the gay equivalent of that boy everyone warns their daughters about. The one who pulls pigtails because he has a crush.”
“Do not lump me into some toxically masculine, heteronormative urban legend.” Annoyed, I grabbed my bag from the floor and hauled it over my shoulder.
Smiling, he said, “You’re a bully.”
“I hate you.”
“I speak the truth.” His grin was jubilant, and dammit I hated how right he was.
Did I like Chance’s perpetual state of khaki, utility pockets, and faded Earth Day t-shirts? Fuck no. The man had zero style. He literally smelled like clay. Or maybe it was rain. Mixed with sweat and sandalwood, or maybe pine, fuck, it was some type of wood. I had no idea. But Madre de Díos it smelled amazing. And no, I would never ever speak those words out loud to a single soul. Not even to my best friend because it would give him a lifetime supply of bullshit to throw my way, and my complexion couldn’t handle that many frown lines. And maybe he was built like a god and had blue eyes that saw right through me. And yeah, he had weathered-looking hands I might’ve had fantasies about, and sure, he’d spent the majority of his adult life working in other countries, donating his time to service, helping humanity like the hippy he’d been born to be, but that didn’t mean I had to fuck the guy. He was sure in his skin. Maybe I found all of that attractive. It didn’t mean I had a crush. Besides, no one was perfect. He had to have flaws beyond his sad wardrobe. I just had to find them.
Enter the Giveaway:
To celebrate this exciting new installment, Amanda is giving away the Winner’s choice of the Illustrated or Amazon Cover of a Signed Paparback of Forever, Con Amor!
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About the Author:
Amanda is an award winning and best selling author of LGBTQIA and contemporary romance and fiction. She lives in Utah with her family where she moonlights as a nurse on the weekends and hikes in the mountains as much as possible.
If she’s not busy with her three munchkins, you’ll find her buried in a book or behind the keyboard where she explores the human experience through the written word, exploring all spectrums and genres.
She’s obsessed with all things Hockey, Austen, and Oreos, and loves to connect with readers!
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