If they looked, would they ever leap?
Good-looking, confident, and doted on by his widowed mum, Michael is used to thinking only of himself. Getting shoved off an Isle of Wight pier by an exasperated ex ought to come as a wake-up call—but then he meets Rufus and he’s right back to letting the little head take charge. Rufus is cute, keen, and gets under Michael’s skin in a disturbing way.
Would-be chef Rufus can’t believe his luck when a dripping wet dream of a man walks out of the sea on his birthday, especially when Michael ends up staying at the family B&B. Life is perfect—at least until Michael has to go home to the mainland.
Rufus can’t leave the island for reasons he’s entirely neglected to mention. And though Michael identifies as bi, breaking his mum’s heart by coming out and having an actual relationship with a guy has never been his plan. With both men determined to keep their secrets, a leap of faith could land them in deep water.
~ Pride Promotions
Michael stomped along Sandown Pier, his footsteps loud on the wooden boards. The salt-laden wind was blowing right through him, last night’s beer had left him with a headache, and Trix was still talking. He should never have agreed to come on this holiday—for God’s sake, who went to the Isle of Wight in February? Far as he was concerned, there was bugger all romantic about freezing your balls off, and it wasn’t even like it was Valentine’s Day. That’d been over two weeks ago.
It was time he ended this. Way past time. It just wasn’t working. Couldn’t she see that? Michael wasn’t even certain he was really that into girls, if he was honest with himself, which as a rule he tried not to be.
Trix had seemed all right when she turned up at his kickboxing club a few weeks ago and they started sparring—she’d punched harder than any girl he’d met, and she had a kick like a pissed-off mule. So he’d invited her out to run with him one Saturday morning, which had ended in some X-rated shower action back at hers. She’d taken him mountain biking, which wasn’t really his thing, but getting frisky in the forest . . . Yeah, he could get behind that. He was bi, she was bi; it was like they were made for each other, right? Perfect for a bit of fun. But the trouble was, when they’d got on the ferry, he’d found out that once she had her breath back, she just never stopped talking.
Michael was sick of trying to tune it out. He’d been hanging around hoping she’d get the message and dump him, but enough was enough. Time to cut his losses and head on home. “Sorry, love, but we gotta split up,” he said, not waiting for her to finish what she was saying because he was twenty-six already and he might not live that long.
Trix stared at him, her mouth hanging open and silent for once, and backed off a few steps. “Hey, careful there,” Michael said, cos they’d reached the concrete bit at the end of the pier, where boats could pull in or park or whatever boats did, and the railings were pretty low.
Then what she’d just been saying finally percolated through his brain: “Michael, babes, I love you so much, will you marry me?”
“Uh . . .” he started.
She didn’t give him a chance to get any further. Her cherry-red lips drawn up in a snarl, she ran at him.
Caught unprepared, Michael didn’t offer any resistance as she gave him a bloody great shove with ten stone of kickboxing muscle behind it. His lower back hit the rail, ’cept it wasn’t a proper rail on this side, just a bit of old chain. It swung taut—and then something gave way, and it wasn’t taut anymore, and he was falling.
Right off the end of the pier.
1. If you were to describe your e-book/book in only one word, what would it be?
2. What would you say inspired you to write it? ?
All things Leap Year related, plus the experience of growing up on a small island in the South of England
3. How do you deal with bad reviews or acid criticism? What would you advise other authors to that effect? ?
Everyone gets bad reviews. Everyone. If you look at your favourite ever book on Goodreads or Amazon, one that you adore and the world considers a classic, someone, somewhere, will have one-starred it. Reviews are a matter of opinion, and not everyone likes the same things. The trick is to not let the one bad review outweigh all the good ones in your mind.
Of course, it’s far easier to give advice than to follow it…
4. What do you have stored for us in the future? What are you working on/planning on next, aside this title/series? ?
I’m currently working on another project for Riptide which I’m really excited about. I’ve signed up to write two novels in their new shared world, Porthkennack, which is a small (fictional) town on the Cornish coast. Alex Beecroft has done a superb job of providing the place with an interesting history, full of colourful locations and characters.
The Porthkennack series will include both contemporary and historical novels, but both of mine will be contemporary gay romances.
My first (as yet untitled) Portkennack book, which I’m writing at the moment, centres on two young men who feel adrift in the world. Both are newcomers to Porthkennack, and they both have their own reasons for being there. It’s darker than Lovers Leap, but there is still some humour in there—at least, so I’m reassured by members of my writers’ group to whom I’ve read out bits from the start.
And for fans of my Plumber’s Mate mysteries, there will be a new novel featuring Tom and Phil out in the summer, Blow Down
Fun facts: :
1. If you could wish for any one thing, and it would immediately come true, what would you wish for? ?
A really good cup of coffee.
And, you know, world peace, obviously.
2. If you were stranded on an isolated island, what’s the one book you’d absolutely wish to have with you? ?
I grew up on an isolated island (okay, there was a regular ferry service, but still) and let me tell you, you need more than one book.
3. Name your favorite fruit. ?
4. Coffee or tea? ?
Coffee. I loathe and despise tea. Especially tea with milk. It’s like offering someone a cup of dishwater, and then saying, would you like some chip fat with that?
5. Favorite season? ?
6. How about fav time of 24 hours? ?
That time just before bedtime when you’re relaxed and in your jammies, and you’re not dead tired yet, but it’s too late to feel the need to do anything productive, like knock out another few pages of the novel.
Of course, this is also the time I most often get inspired to knock out another few pages of the novel.
7. Were you a boyscout/girlscout? ?
I was a Girl Guide, as we don’t have Girl Scouts in the UK. Although girls can now, and frequently do, join the Boy Scouts. The UK Girl Guides are vastly inferior to the US Girl Scouts in that there are absolutely zero cookies involved.
8. Favorite food for breakfast? ? Fruit salad with natural yogurt. Or scrambled egg on wholemeal toast with mushrooms. Actually, both, for preference. Yum.
9. Latest book you’ve bought and read? ?I’m currently in the middle of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman: Overture. It’s fairly epic, but I’m finding it harder to connect to than the original Sandman books.
10. Do you collect things like stamps, or key chains, or shoes? ?
11. Favorite color, you know you want to tell us! ?
Purple. No, blue. Bluey purple.
12. Drama or comedy? ?
Comedy. Life has enough drama as it is.
13. Have a fav quote or personal motto? ?
“Writing is the most fun you can have by yourself.” – Sir Terry Pratchett
14. Cats or dogs? ?
15. Dinner by candlelight or a night out clubbing? ?
Dinner by candlelight. Somewhere like The Witchery in Edinburgh, if it’s still as good as it was years ago.
16. What song have you listened to most recently? ?
I can’t get Elle King’s “Ex’s and Oh’s” out of my head, so I’ve just bought the album.
With hindsight, this is probably unlikely to help.
1. Your top secret, uber guilty pleasure is… ?
Hey, if I told you, it wouldn’t be top secret, would it?
2. Your oldest memory is… ?
Wearing a pair of bright red trousers while talking to my mother in the kitchen when I was two. Unfortunately, what I was saying was, “This is the way to hold the kettle,” and it was swiftly followed by an extended stay in a burns unit.
3. If everyone would receive a prize for being best at something, you’d be no. 1 at… ?
I rock at procrastination.
4. The one thing you’d do anything to avoid/get out of is… ?
5. Your favorite part of a date is… ?
The squishy bit on the outside. I’m not that keen on the grainy bits in the middle.
6. If a character from any book could become real and you could spend a day with them, it would be… from the book… ?
Dumbledore, from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
7. You were/are a hardcore fan of… ?
LOL! See previous answer.
8. You’d immediately fall for someone who… ?
Sent me a letter by owl. Or took me for a ride on their broomstick.
9. The one thing you could/can never get over is… ?
Mount Everest. Or any high mountain, really. I mean, why would you bother? It’s flippin’ hard work, and the view at the top is *always* obscured by cloud.
10. If you could have any one superpower, it would be… ?
Flight. Then I’d laugh at mountains. Probably just before crashing into a rocky outcrop obscured by cloud.
11. The one thing that always brightens your day is… ?
12. The most awkward moment in your life happened when… ?
There are far too many to recount here… *cringes*
13. The awesomest thing in your life is… ?
My kids. Cliched and naff, I know, but oh, so true.
Leave a comment for a chance to win $29 in Riptide credit. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on March 5, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. Entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!
About the Author & Links:
JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea. She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again. Her one regret is that she never mastered the ability of punting one-handed whilst holding a glass of champagne.
She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance and mysteries, and is frequently accused of humour. Her novel Slam! won the 2013 Rainbow Award for Best LGBT Romantic Comedy, and her novella Muscling Through and novel Relief Valve were both EPIC Awards finalists.
JL Merrow is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, International Thriller Writers, Verulam Writers’ Circle and the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.