Hello all! Thank you so much for joining me on the next stop of the Forgive and Forget blog tour celebrating the release of my Dreamspun Desires book which is out tomorrow April 1st! I’m so excited! Since we’re drawing ever closer, I thought I’d share an exclusive excerpt. Joe and his motley crew have just found a mysterious man face down in Joe’s garden, but instead of letting Joe call for help, the man refuses. He insists that calling the cops could end in his death. Then he passes out. What’s poor Joe to do? Who is this man, and why is he so set against going to the hospital or seeking help from the authorities?
Here Joe’s agreed to take the man upstairs to his apartment which is located just over his pie shop. Enjoy!
“Did you find anything?” Elsie asked, bringing over the bowl of warm water.
“Nothing. Just some dirt. Donnie, get on the phone to Jules. Ask her what’s the earliest she can come by and what we should do in the meantime. Elsie, hold that bowl for me, will you? I’m going to try and get some of this blood off. Bea, could you finish up downstairs?”
Bea gaped like he’d grown three heads. “You want me to just leave you up here with him? What if he wakes up and attacks you? What if he’s a murderer? He might be an assassin hired to take you out!”
“What? Don’t be ridiculous. No one’s been hired to take me out. I bake pies, Bea. I’m not the political head of a foreign territory. I’ll be fine.”
Bea looked like she was about to argue some more, but thankfully she also knew when Joe meant business, and so she retreated downstairs. Donnie went off to call Jules, and in the meantime, Joe carefully began to clean away as much blood as he could. Soon, he found the source of it: a thin line about two inches long on the side of the man’s scalp. It didn’t need stitches, but there was one hell of a bump on his noggin. Joe carefully laid him back against the faded brown couch before looking him over.
The guy was younger than Joe had thought, but it was hard to guess how old he was since he was looking a bit scruffy at the moment, what with his hair all over the place and the dark beard, though there were a few gray hairs starting to grow in. There was a nick on his lip, along with several cuts and scrapes around his face, neck, and arms. Damn. The guy’s knuckles were scraped and bruised. He’d clearly gotten into a pretty bad fight recently.
Donnie came scurrying back from the kitchen, his chest heaving as if he’d run a lap rather than the few feet it was. “Jules says we need to wake him up and get him to talk. Keep an eye on him in case he’s sick or dizzy, and keep him awake for a few hours. See about convincing him to get to a hospital. He needs to be observed overnight. She says she’s sorry, but she’s working tonight. She’ll try to come by as soon as she can.”
“Okay.” Joe ran his fingers through his hair as he thought about his next move.
Donnie took a seat beside Elsie, both watching him anxiously. “What are we gonna do, Joe?”
As sure as Joe was that the guy hadn’t been hired to assassinate him, he didn’t know if the man was dangerous. Not to mention his last words hadn’t exactly filled Joe with warm fuzzy feelings. “Why don’t you kids go help Bea? I’ll let you know when he’s awake, or if I need anything.”
Donnie opened his mouth but caught Joe’s subtle nod toward Elsie, who looked a little pale. The kid quickly jumped to his feet and took her hand. “Come on, Elsie. Let’s go help Bea.” Elsie gazed up at Donnie like he was her knight in shining armor and followed him, smiling, out of the apartment.
“All right, Joe, you can do this.” Inhaling deeply, Joe crouched in front of the unconscious man and pinched his hand lightly. “Hey. Wake up.”
“Of course nothing happened.” What did he think would happen with a pinch like that? If Bea had been here, she’d have told him off for it, or more likely, probably given him a tweak that put his own to shame. Bracing himself, he pinched the man’s hand. Hard.
“Aw, come on, man. Do me a favor, already. I nearly pulled something dragging your butt up here. The least you could do is be conscious.” He pinched the guy again. “Wake up!” Another harsh pinch later, the guy groaned. Now we’re getting somewhere.
Gently shaking the guy’s shoulder with one hand and patting the man’s cheek with the other, Joe was about to smack him one more time when the guy popped up like a jack-in-the-box.
Joe forgave himself for the inelegant yelp that escaped him. He hit the carpet with a painful thud. What just happened?
Managing to suck some air into his lungs when the man landed on him, Joe did his best not to panic by shutting his eyes tight and remaining perfectly still. Then he remembered the heavy weight pinning him down wasn’t a bear and therefore most likely not fooled by his playing possum. Were bears fooled by that kind of thing? Maybe this wasn’t the best time to ponder that. The weight shifted, and before Joe knew it, there was a forearm pressed against his neck. Suddenly, this all seemed like a very bad idea. Actually, bad was an understatement. He could just about hear Bea’s “I told you so.” He hated when she told him so.
“Who do you work for,” the man demanded, his face red and his steel gaze pinning Joe to the spot. “Answer me!”
Joe shook his head as best he could. “No one! Me! I work for me. I bake pies.”
The man narrowed his eyes. “Who are you?”
“I’m not going to hurt you,” Joe said, his hands up at his sides to show he didn’t intend to pull anything funny. He hadn’t exactly thought about what he’d do once the guy woke up. Smart, Joe. Very smart.
It wasn’t like he was a weakling. He was six feet tall, after all, and though not overly muscular, still strong enough. Of course, the man above him was big and solid, at least twenty to thirty pounds heavier than Joe, with an added three to four inches in height. From the feel of hard thigh muscles pressed firmly against Joe’s ribs, the broadness of his chest, the strength in his arms, and a look that said “try it and I’ll throw you across the room without breaking a sweat,” Joe realized he might have bitten off a little more than he could chew. His best option would be to reason with the man. If all else failed, well, then, he would simply have to punch the guy and hope for the best.
“My friends and I found you in the garden downstairs, just outside my shop. Remember? You went unconscious, so I was trying to wake you up. You might have a concussion.” Joe hoped his smile didn’t look as shaky as it felt.
The man moved his free hand to the back of his head and winced. Well, at least he knew Joe hadn’t been lying about that.
“I’m Joe. And you are…?”
“I….” The man’s dark brows drew together. He seemed to genuinely struggle with a reply. For a moment Joe thought maybe the guy was trying to bide himself some time to come up with some bull story, but when he turned his gaze back to Joe, Joe was stunned to see the panic there. “I—oh God, I don’t know.”
Just when he thought things couldn’t get any stranger.
Have you read any books or romances where a character suffered from amnesia? Which was your favorite, or stuck with you?
ABOUT THE BOOK
Genre: Gay Contemporary Category Romance Length: Novel, 194 Pages Published: April 1st, 2016 Publisher: Dreamspinner Press Cover Artist: Paul Richmond Ebook ISBN-13: 9781634770170 Paperback ISBN-13: 9781634770163
As the owner of Apple’n Pies, Joe Applin leads a quiet, uneventful life, content to spend his days serving customers who come from all over to eat his delicious homemade pies. Along with his motley crew—Bea, Elsie, and Donnie—Joe couldn’t be happier in his little kingdom of baked goods and java.
Experience has taught Joe that love is overrated—and at times dangerous. He has no intention of repeating past mistakes. But then he meets a mysterious, handsome man with amnesia, and Joe can’t deny something sweet is in the works. He isn’t one to take risks, not with his heart and certainly not with his life, but the more time he spends with the man he knows as Tom, the closer he is to losing both.
OUT APRIL 1st
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Charlie Cochet is an author by day and artist by night. Always quick to succumb to the whispers of her wayward muse, no star is out of reach when following her passion. From Historical to Fantasy, Contemporary to Science Fiction, there’s bound to be plenty of mischief for her heroes to find themselves in, and plenty of romance, too!
Currently residing in South Florida, Charlie looks forward to migrating to a land where the weather includes seasons other than hot, hotter, and boy, it’s hot! When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found reading, drawing, or watching movies. She runs on coffee, thrives on music, and loves to hear from readers.
[Each tour stop has its own exclusive giveaway. That's five chances to win a nifty prize! ]
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