Hello! Thank you to Slashsessed for having me on today to share my new release, In Over Our Heads, a second chance romance set in Key West. This is the second book in my Stories from the Shore series and follows the events in All the Way to Shore.
A confession: I’ve never been scuba diving myself, although I’ve snorkeled in Grand Cayman (a scene in All the Way to Shore) and loved it. And I’d only been in Key West once very briefly when I wrote the story. So I asked some experts (and fellow authors) for advice. Dev Bentham is an m/m author who also happens to be a certified dive instructor and she ensured that my descriptions of the scuba instruction and dive were accurate. C.S. Poe is an m/m author who happens to live in Key West and she corrected my version of Key West geography. I’m much indebted to both of them!
When did you write your first story and what was the inspiration for it? My very first story I remember writing was when I was around 12 or 13. It featured a girl named Bunny B. who goes to a party and sees some racy things happening. The inspiration was me eavesdropping on one of my older sister’s friends who was talking about parties and S-E-X. My ears were wide open! So my interest in writing erotic fiction started early.
Where did the desire to write LGBTQ romance come from? It seems my interest in m/m also started early. In a high school English class we were given a prompt in the form of a picture of man standing in a doorway (either leaving or entering). I remember writing that the man was leaving his marriage because he’d realized he was gay (nowadays I would call him bisexual). And I wanted to give him a happy ending. This was years before I stumbled into the world of fanfiction and found these stories everywhere.
Tell us about your work in progress and what you’ve got planned for the future. I’m plotting the third book in the Stories from the Shore series, which will be the story of Miles from In Over Our Heads. I’m planning to use NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in November to get 50,000 words written! We shall see how that goes.
Title: In Over Our Heads
Series: Stories from the Shore
Author: CJane Elliott
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: October 16, 2017
Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex
Genre: Romance, Second Chances, Vacation
SynopsisAnthony Vallen is the life of any party. Full of energy and fun, Anthony adores romance and enjoys playing matchmaker for his friends while dancing the night away with a series of Mr. Right Nows. But he’s given up on his own happy ending. A bad breakup years ago made him a secret cynic about love… until he runs into Walter Elkins—the boy who broke his teenaged heart—on a scuba-diving vacation in Key West. Suddenly, Anthony’s reasons for shunning romance no longer hold much water. Being with Walter again forces Anthony to get serious—about himself, his worth, and his heart’s desires.
Brilliant and self-contained, scientist Walter Elkins prefers deep thoughts to other people. He’s a good boss and a model citizen, but Walter doesn’t let anyone get close. After a tragedy drove him out of his science career, Walter landed in Key West and became owner of a dive shop and a bar. Things are fine until Anthony Vallen—the only person who ever penetrated his defenses—shows up, and Walter’s calm, controlled life capsizes. He and Anthony have a second chance for love, but Walter must confront the old fears that threaten to torpedo their happiness.
ExcerptThe door burst open, and Sophia sailed in with my morning cappuccino. She was humming under her breath and had that telltale postsex glow about her. I tried not to hate her too much.
“What’re you doing in here with me, doll? Don’t you have a sexy dive instructor to entertain?”
“She had to leave early.” Sophia handed me the mug. “She’s taking her group out on the ocean dive too, and she had to go to Back Bay to get the boat ready.”
I took a restorative sip of cappuccino. “Ahh. Well, I hope you didn’t tire her out too much last night. Or vice versa.” I winked at her, even though I didn’t feel very winky.
“Guilty on both our parts, I’m afraid.” Sophia smirked, then perched on the side of my bed. “Can we talk more about what’s going on with you and Walter?”
“Going on?” I blinked and buried my nose in the cup. “I mean, I told you guys last night. What more do you need to know?”
“Whatever it’ll take to help you and him figure yourselves out, because second chances like this don’t come around often.”
“God, not you too. You and Jonny need to start a group for incurable romantics.”
She straightened, her dark eyes snapping with intensity. “Caro! You’re the one who talks about destiny. This is your destiny!”
I sighed. She was so over the top sometimes. Must be her Italian blood. “Maybe my destiny is to be reminded to never let a guy walk over me the way Walter did.”
“I…. Look, Marco has a good point, and I agree with him that Walter needs to apologize. It was awful of him to drop out of sight. You so don’t deserve to be treated that way.”
“Right.” I put down my cup, having lost my taste for the cappuccino.
“But you two were barely out of high school. So young! People change. It certainly doesn’t seem in character with how he is now.”
“Well, I mean, Walter seems so conscientious and thoughtful. Yes, a little gruff, but not someone who would knowingly hurt you. But maybe… safety seems to be a huge concern to him. And maybe he couldn’t stand that you almost drowned, and he couldn’t face you after that? Did he ever explain it to you?”
“No. I begged him to tell me why, and all he would say is ‘I’m not good for you. I don’t want to hurt you anymore.’ I guess the safety thing is the most plausible explanation. Because other than that, it’s bizarre that he would walk away and throw away a great thing. We were….” I paused, hit by an unexpected wave of grief. “Damn it, Soph, we were really good together. Yes, we were young, but we complemented each other so well. Like, I brought him out of his shell, and he calmed me down. And he took me seriously. He listened to me in a way no one but Jonny ever had before.” My eyes betrayed me by welling up.
“Oh, Anthony. That’s lovely. I can tell he still does. Take you seriously, I mean. He hasn’t been able to stop staring at you the whole time we’ve been around him. It’s obvious he still cares.”
Sophia’s words threw little daggers at my silly heart. Jonathan had said essentially the same thing. If they both thought Walter still cared for me, maybe it was true. And God, if it was true, I was in deep waters. I knew I should stiffen my backbone and armor myself with outrage. But I couldn’t. Still hung up on Walter Elkins? Guilty as charged. Convicted. Lock me up and throw away the key, because I had no hope of rehabilitation. I put my face in my hands for a moment. What a hopeless sentimental fool!
Luckily for my humiliation factor, Marco came barging in with a brilliant grin. “All right, darlings! Today’s the day! Scuba diving or bust! Get ready for the adventure of your lives.” He stopped short and peered at me. “You okay?”
Pulling myself together, I returned his smile. “Fabulous, doll! Off to the reefs we go to swim with the fishies!”