by Christine d’Abo
Published: February 19th 2018 by Riptide Publishing
Genre: MxM Adult Contemporary Romance
Finn Miller doesn’t do social. He works his IT job from home as often as he can to avoid people. If it weren’t for his weekly training sessions at Ringside Gym, he might never leave his apartment. And he only does that because of Leo, the gym member he’s in love with. When Finn gets talked into attending a speed dating fundraiser at the gym, his greatest wish is to have the courage to try to say something—anything—to Leo.
Justin McCormick has spent most of his adult life being used, whether playing a corporate heavy, or acting as guard dog for his ward. So when he leaves Vancouver for a fresh start in Toronto, he doesn’t quite know what to do with himself.
The moment Justin sees Finn at a speed dating event, he knows there’s no way he’ll make it without a little help, so he offers to coach Finn on the art of conversation. What he doesn’t count on is his unexpected attraction to this shy boxer, or his fear that if Finn gets his way, Justin might lose out on his best chance at love.
Justin McCormick flexed his fingers as he stood outside of Ringside Gym. God, this was a terrible idea, but for the first time in his adult life, he was at a complete loss for what else to do. He had no job, his savings were getting dangerously low, and he’d burned more than a few professional bridges over the years while doing his former employer’s bidding. That made getting out of this particular mess difficult.
Plus, he was wearing glasses for the first time in years. He hated glasses.
He hadn’t anticipated needing to start over at this stage in his life. Everything had been going the way he’d wanted; he’d achieved each of his goals in order. And yet . . .
Like vapor, his career and personal life had vanished in a puff of smoke.
The warm air was unusual for this early in April in Toronto, or so the taxi driver had said on the way through traffic. Justin hadn’t bothered to respond, not particularly caring about the current state of meteorological affairs. The nice weather wasn’t going to make it any easier for him to get a job with a sufficient income to allow him to live in Toronto in the manner that he’d been previously accustomed to. His résumé—which would be the envy of most—hadn’t gotten him much, but as far as he could tell, it was his reputation rather than his experience that was holding him back.
The main thing he’d spent a decade cultivating was now a liability.
The sidewalk was full of people of all sorts, many of whom were dressed for work, probably rushing off to some important meeting or other. Justin averted his eyes as a man, who appeared to be homeless, started to come toward him. He could feel the other man’s gaze on him as he got close, but instead of engaging, Justin stepped toward the window and began to read a notice of a new kickboxing class.
The smell of body odor washed over Justin as the man moved to stand beside him. “Excuse me. Do you have any change?”
“No.” Justin didn’t bother to mask his gruff nature, and kept his gaze fixed on the poster.
The man nodded and passed Justin. “That’s okay. You have a great day.”
Justin turned his head and watched him ask a passing woman the same thing. She stepped around him, throwing him a dirty look as she went by. The man waved at her and took up a post a few feet from the gym entrance. Justin did his best to ignore him, but the longer he stood there, the louder his conscience started to yell at him.
Instead he reached into his pocket and took out the three toonies he’d been saving for a coffee. He walked over and held them out. “Here.”
“You found some change after all.” The man smiled and put it into his pocket. “Thank you.”
Justin narrowed his gaze. “I can take it back if you want?”
“It’s all good. Much appreciated.” He’d moved a few steps away when Justin heard him mutter. “Asshole.”
Justin ignored him and went back to the gym door, because what else could he do? He was an asshole, though he’d been trying harder in recent months to cull those behaviors. A fresh start, and all that shit. Except that now he was standing in front of the place where his former charge Grady now worked, skulking about like he’d been accused of doing so many times in the past.
This had been a horrible idea. They’d parted on decent terms, but Grady wouldn’t want him around now that he’d gotten his own life on track. So, Justin took a breath, turned, and slowly walked past the gym. This wasn’t what he needed, to reconnect with Grady and try to rekindle a friendship. No, he needed to find a job and a place to live.
Even if what he wanted, now more than ever, was a friend.
He spun around to face the one person who he hadn’t considered would be here—Max Tremblay: Grady’s boyfriend and the man whose life Justin had made miserable for several weeks a little over a year ago. With his heart pounding, Justin straightened and approached Max. “Ah, yes. Hello.”
“What are you doing here?” Max was wearing a short-sleeve, collared shirt that showed off his defined forearms and biceps. Justin did his best to keep his gaze off the muscles and on Max’s disapproving gaze. It wouldn’t help his cause to be ogling Grady’s partner.
“I found myself in the city and thought I might pay Grady a visit.” Not really the truth, but not exactly a lie. The middle ground he always loved to walk.
Max closed the distance between them. “You don’t find yourself anywhere you don’t want to be.” He crossed his arms and looked down at Justin. Having witnessed Max knock one of Grady’s relatives out with a single punch, Justin was more than aware of the strength Max possessed. And Justin knew Max’s strength went far beyond the physical; he’d been an emotional rock for Grady last year. Justin could only assume Max was still that for Justin’s former ward.
“Not true. I once ended up in a bowling alley in Saskatoon. I can tell you that was absolutely accidental.”
Max growled. “Why are you here? The truth without the bullshit.” ”
To celebrate the release of Losing It, one lucky winner will receive a $25 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on February 24, 2018. 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:
A romance novelist and short story writer, Christine has over thirty publications to her name. She loves to exercise and stops writing just long enough to keep her body in motion too. When she’s not pretending to be a ninja in her basement, she’s most likely spending time with her family and two dogs.
You can visit Christine at her website www.christinedabo.com, and chat with her on Facebook and Twitter. Want to keep up with Christine’s new releases? Sign up for her newsletter and receive a free book!