Book Blitz & Excerpt: Eat Your Heart Out + Giveaway

Eat Your Heart Out

 

Eat Your Heart Out
Starting Over Series, Book 2
by Shirley Goldberg

Romantic Women’s Fiction / Romcom / ChickLit

Date Published: March 17, 2021

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

When a tyrant in stilettos replaces her beloved boss, and her ex snags her coveted job, teacher Dana Narvana discovers there are worse things than getting dumped on Facebook. Time for the BFF advice squad. Alex—hunky colleague, quipster, and cooking pal extraordinaire is Dana’s staunchest ally. So what’s with the smooching after hours? And why won’t this grown man make up his mind?

Actor turned teacher Alex Bethany craves a family of his own. Newly hotified, he’s now got the confidence to try online dating. Meanwhile he’s sending Dana mixed messages in the kissing department. After a surprising event rocks his world, Alex panics, certain he’s blown his chances with his special person.

Funny and bittersweet, Dana and Alex’s story will have you rooting for them all the way to dessert.

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Excerpt

So, this is what it’s like being on a date with you.” Dana hesitated—caught herself. “This isn’t a date, is it?

Her voice flattened and she took a sip of wine. “Oh, I’m not belittling your gesture, bringing me to this fine establishment. But it isn’t a date because you’re seeing that woman, aren’t you? The one you asked me for advice about.”

Alex fidgeted. Idiot. Asking Dana how to recognize the signs a woman was interested––what had he been thinking? What could be more awkward? This. This was definitely up there on the list of more awkward moments.

You’ve always been straight with me,” she said, holding the wine glass in midair.

That little flash of skin whenever she raises her arm. He picked up his wine glass. At this rate, he’d have to order a second bottle, simply to block his mind from going where it shouldn’t.

Alex, do it again, be straight.”

He leaned in, took the glass from her hand and put it on the table. “Come closer,” he said. “I want to whisper sweet somethings in your ear.”

She bent toward him, a puzzled but amused expression percolating, her face glowing in the subtle lighting.

Yes?” Her voice throaty, challenging.

This is a date,” he said and tilted his head, brushed her lips with his, pulled back slightly, and did it again.

 

About the Author

Shirley Goldberg is a writer, novelist, and former ESL and French teacher who’s lived in Paris, Crete, and Casablanca. She writes about men and women of a certain age starting over. Her website offers a humorous look at living single and dating in mid life. Eat Your Heart Out is the second book in the series Starting Over. Middle Ageish, the first, is available now and Shirley’s friends like to guess which stories in the book are true. Her characters believe you should never leave home without your sense of humor and Shirley agrees.

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Spotlight & Excerpt: Louisiana Latte + Giveaway

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Louisiana Latte
by Rebecca Henry
Genre: Romantic Comedy

 

In 1989, at the age of twenty-two, Deb was in a life or death situation. As the engines started, accompanied by the fasten seat belt sign, Deb felt her skin crawl with immobilizing fear. She had two choices, either get off the plane or die in her brand-new Gucci stilettos. Deb couldn’t get on a plane for love that day, but she could do it twenty years later for money. Money was worth dying for.

 

louisianalatte - excerpt

I made my way up the beach, the other woman coming into perfect view. She was an older woman, and she wore a hot pink rhinestone-encrusted string bikini with the fabric stretching in vain to cover her enormous round breast implants. They sat like a hard shelf over her soft potbelly and short, stubby legs. Her skin was dark, tanned to the color and texture of an old shoe. Her mouse brown and frizzy hair stood out like a corona around her head, and her lips were overfilled with collagen, giving her the appearance of a quacking duck.

“Becky, there you are,” Sally said with relief as I walked up beside her. She grabbed my arm and shot me a meaningful sideways glance. I looked over at my mother’s new companion. “This is my daughter, Becky,” Sally told the stranger.

Like a cawing crow, the woman rasped, “Oh, aren’t you fit!” A thick New Jersey accent shaped her words. “Tammy! Tammy, look at her!” she shouted, pointing at me with one long, garish fingernail. “Tammy, doesn’t she look like a yoga instructor in her trendy little one piece?”

Oh God. I hated feeling like I was being put on display. This is just too awkward. Maybe I can hide under Sally’s pile of crap.

Tammy walked over, eyeing me up and down. She mirrored the first woman, perhaps younger. “Oh, yeah!” Tammy squawked. “She looks like Rainbow, the one who teaches yoga downtown.”

I glanced over at my mom after making sure the two crows couldn’t hear me.

“Why did you do this to me?” I hissed under my breath.

“Becky, don’t leave me,” my mother whispered. My arm hurt where she gripped it like a lifeline, tethering me at her side.

“I’m Agatha,” the short, round woman informed me. “Agatha Broccoli, but you can call me Aggie.”

I shook my head, bewildered. “Your name is Aggie Broccoli?” I asked. “Like the vegetable?”

“Yes, sweetheart, it is,” she grinned proudly. “Aggie Broccoli from New Jersey, and this is my sister, Tammy Broccoli. We’re the Broccoli sisters. She’s from Jersey as well.”

Tammy was a carbon copy of her sister Aggie, from her thick accent to her potbelly. Though her rhinestone bikini was turquoise. There must have been a sale. I eyed the two of them. If I were to sum up New Jersey in one word, it would be Aggie Broccoli. I squinted into Aggie’s face. Aggie had the longest eyelashes I’d ever seen—so long that every time she blinked, she struggled to reopen her eyes.

“Oh gawd, I can’t see a thing,” Aggie complained. “I got implants.”

I nodded. Her boobs nearly reached her chin, and I seriously doubted she could see her feet over them.

She pointed instead to her eyes. “They took my hair from my head and implanted them as eyelashes.” Aggie fluttered her eyes, trying to untangle her lashes that had curled together.

“Wait, your eyelashes are made from hair on your head?” I asked in disbelief.

“Of course,” she squawked as she struggled to blink, her thick Jersey accent rounding the words.

My jaw was on the ground. Human hair eyelash implants. That was a new one.

“What? Why?” I asked. “Why use your hair for eyelashes?”

Aggie flicked sand off her long, red fingernails and gingerly pried her lashes apart, blinking widely to adjust. Sally and I watched in abject horror.

“So they would look natural,” Aggie boasted. “I wanted my eyelash color to match my hair color.”

I stepped back in amazement. ‘Natural’ was not the first word that came to mind when I looked at Aggie Broccoli.

Rebecca Henry is an American author living in the UK. Her books range from vegan cookbooks to fantasy to sci-fi to Rebecca’s latest release with Urban Edge Publishing, Louisiana Latte: A Chick Lit Comedy About Sisters, Stilletos, Coffee, and One Fabulous Diva! You can find all Rebecca’s books on Amazon.
 
 

 

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Spotlight & Excerpt: The Good Ship Lollipop

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Book Title: The Good Ship Lollipop

Author: Patrick Benjamin

Publisher:  KDP Publishing

Cover Artist: Rebecca Covers

Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romance, Comedy

Trope/s: Love triangles, Frenemies

Themes:  Moving on, learning to love again

Heat Rating:  3 flames    

Length:  140 000 words/430 pages

It is a standalone book.

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The Goos Ship Lollipop

Kyle must choose between the love of his past and the man he could love in the future

 

Blurb 

For fifteen years, Kyle and Dustin seemed like the perfect couple. That was until Kyle came home to discover Dustin in bed with a yoga instructor half his age and twice his flexibility. Two years and countless therapy hours later, Kyle has almost put the incident behind him. Being nearly forty and single makes a man bitter, but he’s making do.

Yet, when Kyle’s best friend asks him to be her Man of Honor, on her ten-day Caribbean wedding cruise, Kyle finds himself in a most uncomfortable situation. He ends up trapped on a seafaring vessel for ten days with the man who practically destroyed him.

Face to face with Dustin for the first time since the breakup, unresolved feelings float to the surface, and Kyle and Dustin both begin to wonder if their story is as over as it seems.

While navigating unchartered waters with Dustin, Kyle also meets Jax, a sexy Australian who likes to cruise in more ways than one. Kyle is more than happy to let Jax distract him for ten days. Still, when Jax suggests that he might want more than just a few days of fun, Kyle must choose between the love of his past or the man he could love in the future.

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Excerpt 

No, absolutely not!” I nearly choked on a spinach leaf.

“You have to come,” Sapphire insisted. “I want you to be my Man of Honor.”

“A) That’s not a thing. B) The answer is still no.”

“I can’t get married without you.”

“Sure, you can. There’s no law against it. People do it all the time.”

When Sapphire offered to take me to lunch, I should have suspected something treacherous was afoot. Sapphire and I were like sisters. Sisters of different races and one of them with a penis, but sisters, nonetheless. Our relationship was something enormous and incomprehensible to most people. On paper, we had nothing in common. We had completely different backgrounds and cultural experiences that cultivated entirely different perspectives of the world around us. Despite those differences, we had found each other.

As close as we were, the girl had never offered to buy lunch. She seldom volunteered to pay for anything. That should have been warning number one. When she suggested my favorite Italian restaurant, Armando’s, that should have been warning number two. When she volunteered to foot the bill to attend her destination wedding cruise, I should have known to prepare myself for the Armageddon of bad news.

“You spent fifteen years with the man. What are ten more days?” She spoke with her hands. A piece of chicken flung off her fork and onto the table beside us. The senior couple, who were trying to enjoy their eighteen-dollar salads, glared at us like we each had two heads.

“I’m so sorry,” I mouthed to them.

“I can’t believe you would miss your best friend’s wedding over a tiny, little, uncomfortable inconvenience like this.”

“A cockroach infestation is a tiny inconvenience. Gonorrhea is uncomfortable. What you’re asking me to do is far worse.”

“Don’t be dramatic,” Sapphire said, waving her hand. “Dustin is not that bad.”

“Isn’t he?” He was too tall, too fit, too classically pretty, and all too aware of the fact. He was narcissistic and untrustworthy, but he was also charming and exceptionally good at putting on an innocent act. He could flash his white teeth and his dimples and get people to believe anything he wanted. Still, if you looked into his eyes, you could tell he was soulless.

“Why would you want everyone to join you on your honeymoon, anyway?” I shifted focus. “I hate to tell you this, but if you can’t stand to be alone with Justin for ten days, you probably shouldn’t marry him.”

“Very funny,” she said dryly. “I want everyone there because I want my wedding to be an experience. An amazing memory we can all look back on together.” 

 “I am not spending ten days, on a tiny boat, in the middle of the Caribbean, with him.”

“It’s a cruise ship,” she corrected. “Besides, you won’t be with Dustin. You’ll be with me.”

“Lies!” I wasn’t buying any of it. “I know exactly what will happen. You and Justin will be too busy enjoying your Caribbean honeymoon to spend any time with me. Then I’ll be trapped, in the middle of the ocean, with no one to talk to except Beelzebub’s concubine.”

“He’s not going to be the only other person there, you know. Several other people will be in our group. You can make one of them your wingman. My father loves you. You can hang-out with him.”

“Honey, don’t take this the wrong way. If I’m on an exotic vacation, and the only man who wants to spend time with me is your sixty-five-year-old arthritic father, I might drown myself in a bathtub.”

“Don’t be silly,” Sapphire dismissed. “You’ll be surrounded by water. There’d be no need to draw a bath.”

I did not look amused.

“I can’t believe you’re still so angry. It’s been over a year.” It had been eighteen months since the breakup, and yes, I was still harboring, hurting, and hating. 

I hadn’t seen or spoken to Dustin since the incident. As instructed, he had been gone when I returned to the apartment. With Sapphire’s help and some very strategic planning, I had avoided him throughout the entire decoupling process.

I left yellow Post-it Notes on everything he could take and was extremely vindictive about it. He could have the Blu-ray player, but not the discs or the TV. He could take the kitchen table, but not the chairs. I even kept the Keurig, though I permitted him to take his pods. What kind of monster drank decaf anyway? I also instructed Sapphire to guard the jazz record collection with her life. I detested jazz music, and we both knew it. I planned to pawn or destroy the albums later.

The first few weeks after the breakup, Dustin tried tirelessly to communicate with me. He sent me text messages that I didn’t answer and left voice mails that I refused to listen to. Dustin tried everything short of smoke signals. He even sent me an old-fashioned letter, which I didn’t open and burned immediately. I had nothing to say to him and had no desire to hear what he had to say to me. I had never been an incredibly trusting person, and his betrayal had reinforced all those walls that I had been trying, for years, to dismantle.

Being the forgiving person she was, Sapphire tried to convince me to give Dustin a second chance. Still, I refused, steadfast in my determination that he’d had his chance. Since then, she had been careful not to mention him. Even though I knew full well that she saw him regularly. He was her fiancé’s twin brother. She had to remain cordial. I did not and had no intention of ever being so.

“You simply have to come. We’re going to so many beautiful islands: Turks and Caicos, Bonaire, St. Thomas, and Aruba. You’ve always wanted to go to Aruba.”

That was true, but still, “If you put us on a ship together, I promise you, I will throw him overboard.”

She smiled wide, her teeth gleaming white against the contrast of her chocolate skin. “That’s fine! Just promise you’ll make it look like an accident.”

“Duh,” was the most mature response I could muster. “I don’t want to end up someone’s bitch in a Caribbean prison.” 

“Don’t you, though?”

Dirty, prison sex would have been the most action I’d seen in a while. Thirty-nine may have been young by hetero standards, but in the queer world, I was practically a spinster. Being classified as an elder gay meant that my dating pool had been reduced to a few categories. First, those men who were so weird or creepy that nobody wanted them, or second, those who were so bitter and jaded by relationships past that dating them was like trying to build a house out of straw. I was a card-carrying member of category two.

Of course, there was always a third group. Younger men. They were excellent in theory, with their zero percent body fat and their permanent erections. However, too often, their perfect bodies and sexual appetites only camouflaged the fact that they lacked any real substance. If brains were dynamite, most of them couldn’t blow their nose. There were always exceptions. Old souls that knew how to converse about more than just Rhi-Rhi’s new album or T-Swizzle’s latest boyfriend. Those younger men wanted more than sugar daddies. Though, I still couldn’t imagine having enough in common with someone who hadn’t even been alive during the original run of Friends.

It wasn’t that I couldn’t get a date. Even close to forty, I was still cute. Not as attractive as I was at twenty, but I wasn’t a hunchback or anything. My deep green eyes matched my red hair, which I kept cropped short to avoid the bozo-clown-realness it would become if left to grow-out. I was tall and still decently shaped, a little thicker in some places than I’d prefer, but that came with age. At least, that’s what I told myself. I had a good understanding of where that put me in the queer hierarchy. Guys would still bang me; they just wouldn’t brag about it anymore. 

Admittedly, the realization that I was no longer prime real estate took some getting used to. Before Dustin, I had been a penthouse in Manhattan, but after fifteen years in couple-town, I was shocked to discover I was now a brownstone in Queens. Next stop? Condemned building in Jersey!

That being said, I was optimistic about my life, even if it meant spending it alone.

“The ship is huge,” Sapphire was still talking. “You won’t even really have to see each other. There are also excursions at every port: zip-lining, snorkeling, hikes, surfing. Come on. You can orbit around each other for ten days without committing a violent felony.”

“Great, so I can spend the entire time by myself?”

“There’s going to be thousands of people on this ship. It’s a floating city. If you’re so worried about being by yourself, you could always try making friends.”

“You’ve known me for twenty years. Am I the type of person who makes friends?”

I was about to find out.

 

About the Author  

This is Patrick Benjamin’s second novel. He was excited to try his hand at something lighter and more humorous than his debut novel (The Road Between). Patrick can most often be found spending quiet evenings at home with his husband, Jarrett and his puppy, Dax. When he’s not writing, Patrick can often be seen performing on stage as his glamorous drag persona Tequila Mockingbird. He also volunteers on the Board of Directors of a non-profit organization that has proudly served the LGBTQ2S+ community for 45 years.

 

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