I’m going to lean into the Smexy brand here and share my skinny dipping scene. What is smarter or sexier than skinny dipping? When you don’t wear a swimsuit you don’t have to worry about drying it so that has the added bonus of not needing to do laundry which is probably good for the environment. So all that is firmly in the smart column. Now for an M/M romance with a skinny dipping scene in a crystal clear spring-fed stream we are going to have to deal with a word I like almost less than co-morbidity – shrinkage. Let’s face this truth head on and be patient. The right combination of glistening beads of perspiration on sunlit muscles, intimate pre-dip conversation about forgiveness and culmination of years of unrequited love can make shrinkage an obstacle easily overcome. Nothing to worry about. The Hideaway Inn is the first book in my Seasons of New Hope series. I hope you’ll leave your swimsuit on shore and jump in.
I grab the rock above me and we’re face to face. Naked. I’ve gotten a lot off my chest today and it makes me feel light and open to anything. I kick my legs back and forth underneath me and the frigid cold of the deeper water swirls around my lower body while the humidity engulfs my head and all of the body parts above the water. The contrast almost makes me dizzy. I tread water just looking at Vince. He seems more naked today than he has since he showed up and not just because he isn’t wearing any clothes. The macho bravado that kept him at a distance seems to have weakened a bit. His hair droops over his forehead and he isn’t wearing a fitted dress shirt that has been perfectly tailored to stretch over ever thick muscle in his arms.
Vince dips under the water and when he bobs up he pushes his hair back from his face and the water drips off his thick stubble. He bites his lip and I can tell he is fighting a gentle smile. He loses and the corners of his mouth push across his face. I smile back but I don’t make any attempt to hide it. I let it shine across my face. I want him to know how happy I am to be here with him, for us to be together like this.
“Thank you, for letting me open up about myself.”
“No problem,” he says a bit more coldly than I would like. But I can’t let this moment pass without letting him know how much it means to me.
I want to show him.
I plunge under the water and the let the cold deliver a jolt to my entire body. When I rise out of the water my mouth searches for his and I kiss him on the lips. At first he is tentative. I’m sure it’s a surprise but also not really a surprise. I flash to my hand almost touching his in the truck, the way he looked at me on the side of the road, his eyes through the crack in the door during my first long shower in the suite. As my tongue gently moves against his lips I feel his mouth open. His tongue moves past mine and as soon as we are connected my whole body responds. He turns his head to the side and I turn mine in the opposite direction so we can go deeper. We both have an arm stretched above holding the rock and our feet are paddling to keep us afloat. Our mouths are connected. I take my free arm and go to hold him but he dissolves in front of me, dipping down below the surface.
It feels like I’m waking up from a dream but he appears again. The water drips down his face and off his nose and chin and he looks at me with confusion but I can tell there is a smile growing in his face. He might be fighting it but there is no denying it. Vince and I are locked together finally. I can’t stop exploring his mouth with my own, going deeper inside him and unlocking places I never thought I would explore.
We tread water facing each other. The sunlight bounces and refracts as it hits the ripples in the stream. A rush of wind rustles the leaves and birds call out to each other in the distance. There is a world of life around us but in this moment all that is in front of me is Vince.
“I’m glad you decided to move back,” I say. He smiles at me as the sunshine makes the water dripping off his face look like shiny diamonds. Right now he’s just my old pal Vinny. Or maybe he’s more than that.
About the Book
High school wasn’t the right time or place for their relationship to grow, but now, fifteen years later, a chance encounter changes both of their lives forever.
No one in the charming river town of New Hope, Pennsylvania, needs to know that Vince Amato plans on flipping The Hideaway Inn to the highest bidder and returning to his luxury lifestyle in New York City. He needs to make his last remaining investment turn a profit…even if that means temporarily relocating to the quirky small town where he endured growing up. He’s spent years reinventing himself and won’t let his past dictate his future.
But on his way to New Hope, Vince gets stuck in the middle of nowhere and his past might be the only thing that can get him to his future. Specifically Tack O’Leary, the gorgeous, easygoing farm boy who broke his heart and who picks Vince up in his dilapidated truck.
Tack comes to the rescue not only with a ride but also by signing on to be the chef at The Hideaway for the summer. As Vince and Tack open their hearts to each other again, Vince learns that being true to himself doesn’t mean shutting down a second chance with Tack—it means starting over and letting love in.
One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!
Carina Adores is home to highly romantic contemporary love stories featuring beloved romance tropes, where LGBTQ+ characters find their happily-ever-afters.
A new Carina Adores title is available each month:
- The Girl Next Door by Chelsea M. Cameron (available May 26, 2020)
- Just Like That by Cole McCade (available June 30, 2020)
- Hairpin Curves by Elia Winters (available July 28, 2020)
- Better Than People by Roan Parrish (available August 25, 2020)
- Full Moon in Leo by Brooklyn Ray (available September 29, 2020)
- If You Can’t Stand the Heat by KD Fisher (available October 27, 2020)
- Just Like Us by Cole McCade (available November 24, 2020)
About Philip William Stover
Philip William Stover splits his time between Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and New York City. He has an MFA in writing and is a clinical professor at New York University where he is the former chair of the writing curriculum. As a freelance journalist, his essays and reviews have appeared in Newsday, The Forward, The Tony Awards, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Houston Chronicle, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and other national publications.
Philip grew up tearing the covers off the romance novels he devoured so he wouldn’t get teased at school. Now he enjoys traveling the world with his husband of over twenty years and sitting in front of the woodstove with their half-Bassett, half-Sharpei rescue pup and he would never consider defacing any of the books he loves.
He is thrilled to be returning to romance and loves to write cozy, warm-hearted stories served by hairy forearms with a side of fries. He can be found on social media as Philip William Stover.
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