by E.J. Russell
Date Released: December 5, 2016
After the disastrous ending of his first serious relationship, Gideon Wallace cultivated a protective—but fabulously shiny—outer shell to shield himself from Heartbreak 2.0. Besides, romance is so not a priority for him right now. All his web design prospects have inexplicably evaporated, and to save his fledgling business, he’s been compelled to take a hands-on hardware project—as in, his hands on screwdrivers, soldering irons, and needle-nosed pliers. God. Failure could actually be an option.
Journeyman electrician Alex Henning is ready to leave Gideon twisting in the wind after their run-ins both on and off the construction site. Except, like a fool, he takes pity on the guy and offers to help. Never mind that between coping with his dad’s dementia and clocking all the overtime he can finagle, he has zero room in his life for more complications.
Apparently, an office build-out can lay the foundation for a new relationship. Who knew? But before Alex can trust Gideon with the truth about his fragile family, he has to believe that Gideon’s capable of caring about more than appearances. And Gideon must learn that when it comes to the heart, it’s content—not presentation—that matters.
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An Excerpt from Clickbait
Definition: A large, attractive image on a web page, intended to telegraph the site’s content; usually the first visual encountered by a site visitor.
Alex Henning bolted upright in bed, blinking in the dark. What the . . .? Had he been jolted awake by a real noise or a dream noise?
The dim light filtering in from under his bedroom door hadn’t changed. The windows were dark, without a hint of dawn. Hell, his clock’s red numbers read 4:17. Since he’d only gotten to bed a little after one, he had no business being conscious. But . . .
There it is again. A faint scrape and a soft double thump from downstairs, as if—
He launched himself out of bed. Didn’t bother to throw on sweats or a shirt, just flung open his bedroom door and barreled downstairs.
“Aw, fuck me.” The front door stood open, a brisk breeze sending it bouncing between the doorstop and that uneven patch in the floor. He made a mental note that he had to fix that, in the two seconds before he raced out onto the porch.
His father stood at the bottom of the steps, his steel-toed work boots partially laced over his pajama bottoms. Alex’s balls tried to retract, both from the bite of the November wind and the idea of what could have happened if he hadn’t heard that damn noise. Dad, at large in the neighborhood, getting lost in the dark, or—Jesus—wandering out in front of an oncoming truck. Their little side street might be empty this time of night, but the crazy traffic of McLoughlin was only a few blocks away.
His dad didn’t have his coat on—not that Alex did either, not to mention shirt, shoes, or pants. He was clutching something in his hand as he peered around in the wan glow of the streetlights.
Keys. Car keys.
Ice washed through Alex’s gut, making his insides as cold as his naked chest and feet at the picture of his father behind the wheel of a car. He shoved down the instinct to rush his dad like he’d rushed countless quarterbacks back in high school, and padded slowly down the stairs.
No sudden moves. Don’t startle him. Two steps more. One step. Alex wrapped his hand around his dad’s arm and blew out a shuddering breath.
“Hey, Ned.” Gotta remember. Don’t call him “Dad.” Since his father never recognized Alex anymore, it only confused and upset him. Don’t even think of him as “Dad.” “Whatcha doing out here? Little early for our walk.”
“I . . .” Ned blinked up at him, his silvering eyebrows pinched together over his nose. For a second, a spark of recognition flared in those faded brown eyes, and Alex held his breath. Would Ned remember he had a son? A daughter? A wife? Or remain stuck on endless replay of a time only he could see?
“I . . . know you, don’t I?”
Hope fluttered in his chest. “Yeah. Yeah, you do.”
“Hank, isn’t it? You’re on the night crew.”
Jesus Christ, hope sucks. Alex forced a grin, despite his disappointment. I’m on the night crew, all right. Morning, noon, and evening too. Their whole family was. “That’s me.”
A Note from E.J. Russell
Hi everyone, this is E.J. Russell! Thank you so much for joining me as I celebrate the release of Clickbait, my first contemporary novel with Riptide Publishing!
About E.J. Russell
E.J. Russell holds a BA and an MFA in theater, so naturally she’s spent the last three decades as a financial manager, database designer, and business-intelligence consultant. After her twin sons left for college and she no longer spent half her waking hours ferrying them to dance class, she returned to her childhood love of writing fiction. Now she wonders why she ever thought an empty nest meant leisure.
E.J. lives in rural Oregon with her curmudgeonly husband, the only man on the planet who cares less about sports than she does. She enjoys visits from her wonderful adult children, and indulges in good books, red wine, and the occasional hyperbole.
Connect with E.J. Russell
To celebrate the release of Clickbait, one lucky winner will receive $25 in Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on December 10, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!
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