The Heights by Amy Aislin | Release date: September 20, 2018
Quinn didn’t move across the country expecting to fall for the local, grumpy woodworker who won’t even smile at him…or find out his entire life is a lie.
The Heights by Amy Aislin
Series: Lakeshore #1
Release Date (Print & Ebook): September 20, 2018
Length (Print & Ebook): approx. 75,000 words, or 320 pages
Subgenre: m/m contemporary romance
Reader warnings: one of the main characters suffers from panic attacks
Cover artist: Stacey Blake @ Champagne Book Design
Amazon (this is the universal Amazon link): http://geni.us/TheHeights
iBooks (universal iTunes link): http://geni.us/TheHeightsApple
Twenty-one years ago, a four-year old child was kidnapped from his front yard. He was never found. Until now.
All Nat Walker wants is to make his late father’s dream of running a father/son woodworking shop come true. And he had the perfect building in mind—until the new guy in town came in and bought the place right out from under him. The fact that the new guy is adorable means nothing. For all Nat cares, he can take his new dance studio and waltz back to New York City.
Professional dancer Quinn Carroll couldn’t be happier that he made the move to the small town of Lakeshore, Oregon. Sure, it’s not New York, but now he’ll be living closer to his adoptive brother. And since his studio will be the only one in the area, he should get enough business to keep him busy. Besides, there’s something about this place that seems familiar…
He doesn’t expect to fall hard for the local, grumpy woodworker who won’t even smile at him.
Or find out that his entire life is a lie.
Quinn didn’t particularly give a shit about good idea versus bad. Only that this was happening, it was happening now, and the only way he’d put a stop to it was if a bomb went off.
And maybe not even then.
Pity fuck or not, he was all in.
Turned out he may not need that wet, rainy day fantasy after all. Because here Nat stood. In his kitchen. Shirtless.
Shirtless. In his kitchen.
No matter which way he put it, Nat was still shirtless.
In his kitchen.
Why that last part was important, Quinn didn’t know. Likely because his brain had shorted out and he no longer had any higher reasoning.
“Fuck, you’re ripped,” Quinn blurted, as though he’d never seen Nat naked before. Damn, his brain was dead.
Nat chuckled. “Thanks.” Was his voice huskier than usual? “I work out.”
And of course, that stupid LMFAO song popped into his head.
Yeah. Nat was sexy, and he knew it.
Quinn was rock solid in his jeans. Not only because of Nat’s nakedness, but also because Nat’s confidence in his own skin was hot as hell. He didn’t bother hiding the fact that he was staring. Shamelessly.
Had someone sucked the air out of the cabin?
“You’re not choking to death, are you?”
Nat’s eyebrows pulled together and he pushed away his empty bowl. “Do I look like I’m choking to death?”
“Kind of.” Quinn placed the last of his ice cream on his cookie and finished it off. “Also, do you know that you have a habit of answering a question with a question?”
“No, I don’t.”
“Yes, you do.”
From the top of the jungle gym, Jeremy waved at them frantically. “Hi, Uncle Nat!”
Nat smiled, dimples in full view, and waved back.
Quinn melted. God, that smile was killer. Soft and sincere and full of love for this little person who wasn’t even his own. It was the first time Quinn had seen it. One day he’d get Nat to smile at him that way.
“That’s also the most I’ve heard you talk since we met.”
He removed his stick from the fire and let his burned marshmallow cool. “I talk.”
“Not much.” Quinn assembled a second s’more and ate it in short order. “But that’s okay. You talk when it matters.”
Nat froze with the marshmallow halfway to his mouth.
Aloof. Uncommunicative. Grumpy. Words that had been used to describe him at various times in his life by people who hadn’t made an effort to get to know who he really was.
Quinn had him pegged in only a couple of weeks?
He ate his marshmallow, chewing slowly, half an eye on Quinn. Quinn, who was adorable and sweet and charming but who Nat had judged as flaky and immature. Turned out he was smart and exceptionally astute.
Quinn assembled yet another s’more, his foot tapping in tune to whatever song played in his head. Jesus, did he never sit still? The fingers of one hand drummed on his thigh as if playing a mental piano even as he attempted to eat a s’more one-handed.
He was like a coiled spring, tightly wound. What did Quinn do to expel all that energy besides dance? Soccer? Running? Hockey?
Nope. Not going there.
Except now that his brain had gone there, it didn’t want to go anywhere but there.
“Have you ever considered taking dance lessons?” he asked, head tilted, admiring the way Nat’s tapered torso led to long legs. “You’ve got the body for it.”
From his position on the floor, Nat grinned at him, eyes full of mirth. “Who says I don’t know how to dance?”
Wait. Back up. Guys who could dance turned Quinn on like nothing else. Everything in Quinn went silent as he tried to parse out what Nat wasn’t saying.
He squinted at Nat. “You’re lying. You don’t dance.”
“I don’t dance like you,” Nat confirmed. “But I took lessons until high school. I know enough to get by in a dance club.”
Nat snorted. “No.” He sat up and gathered their debris, putting away his groceries and rolling the used paper towel into a ball to throw away.
“I won’t believe you if you don’t show me.”
He stood and hooked the grocery bag over his shoulder. “That’s fine. Either you believe me or not. I don’t have anything to prove.”
Wow. Someone who didn’t rise to the bait when provoked. It was extremely mature. Coming from the world of competition like Quinn did, where everybody had something to prove, it was also oddly refreshing.
Quinn stood and held out a hand. Nerves made a home in his belly. “Dance with me because you want to?” Please. Please want to. “It’ll be fun.”
Coincidentally—or maybe fatefully—the song changed to 112’s “Dance With Me.”
Nat shook his head and blew out a breathy laugh, probably at the absurdity of it all. Because really, what were the chances?
“One dance,” Nat said, dropping his bag to the floor. Placing his palm in Quinn’s, he pulled Quinn into his arms. Quinn’s breath escaped him in a whoosh.
One dance was more than Quinn thought he’d ever get with Nat. He’d take it.
For a second, Quinn forgot who he was dancing with as his body found the rhythm of the music, hips rolling to the beat. The music flowed over him, transporting him somewhere else, the lyrics causing heat to flow through his veins until he forgot about everything else as the world fell away.
Nat bumped up against him, knees bent, bringing their groins together. It shocked Quinn into opening eyes he hadn’t realized he’d closed. Nat’s hand was at Quinn’s lower back, keeping him close. The grind of their hips made it impossible for Quinn to breathe and impossible for him to hide how hard he was. His skin was heating up, and he was already breathing hard.
Nat held nothing back. His hand strayed to Quinn’s ass. His breath was hot against the skin of Quinn’s neck. His other hand trailed down Quinn’s back, down his ass to squeeze Quinn’s thigh and bring Quinn’s leg up and around his hips.
Their hard cocks bumped. Quinn’s head fell back and he whimpered, the sound swallowed by the music. Nat’s eyes were hot on Quinn’s lips. Electricity shot through him everywhere their bodies connected.
Damn, Nat could move. It was sexy as sin. Dancing with him was like dancing with sex itself.
Quinn tightened his leg around Nat’s hips. Nat swallowed hard. Burying one hand in Nat’s thick hair, Quinn stood on his tippy toes and pressed them together, groin to chest. His other hand snaked up Nat’s T-shirt, and he pressed his palm against the sweaty skin of Nat’s back.
They danced like no one was watching. Like the rest of the world didn’t exist. Quinn needed to come so bad he briefly considered rubbing himself against Nat until he came all over himself. He was so hot, so turned on, he was in danger of exploding out of his skin.
“I was a science nerd,” Nat said, sorting through a pile of art prints. Out of the corner of his eye, he watched Quinn give him a once over. Nat knew he looked disheveled. The wind had thrown his hair into disarray, he likely had coffee breath, and the caramel-colored sweater Quinn liked so much had come out of the emergency clothes pile at the back of his dresser because he hadn’t had time to do laundry in days.
“You were not a science nerd,” Quinn retorted. “There’s no way. But you were a jock.”
“I was that too,” Nat agreed. “Who says I can’t be both?”
“Everybody I went to high school with?”
Nat smiled at him. “Well, we breed them differently here in the Pacific Northwest.”
Quinn gave Nat’s body another once over. “Clearly.”
“Physics was my specialty.”
“Oh, blech! That’s the worst of the sciences.”
“It’s actually the funnest,” Nat countered. “I got to build a roller coaster in senior year.” He led Quinn to the next tent over, where various little handmade wool felt animals and insects were on display.
A small, fat caterpillar with big, green eyes caught Nat’s attention. He picked it up, ripped apart the velcro on its underside and—cool! It morphed into a butterfly. He handed it to Quinn.
“What was your favorite subject in school?” Nat asked him.
“Drama,” Quinn said, re-caterpillaring the butterfly. He grinned and turned the caterpillar into a butterfly again. Caterpillar. Butterfly. Caterpillar.
Was there some kind of toy Nat could make him that would get Quinn to smile at him just like that? Like he was enchanted with the world and Nat in particular? He seemed to delight in the smallest of things. Nat wanted to give him something that would make him happy.
See? He could do this, let someone in.
“Oh hey, what did you win at the ax throwing contest?”
Nat fished in his pocket. “You’ll love it,” he said and handed it over. It was a key chain with a tiny Thor’s hammer.
“Ooh. I am Thor, god of thunder,” Quinn said in an atrocious Australian accent. “Hear me roar.” He bopped Nat on the shoulder with the hammer and made sounds of explosions.
Nat laughed. “Come on, Thor.” He put his arm around Quinn’s shoulders and had to resist the urge to kiss his temple. “Let’s go ride the Ferris wheel.”
About Amy Aislin:
Amy started writing on a rainy day in fourth grade when her class was forced to stay inside for recess. Tales of adventures with her classmates quickly morphed into tales of adventures with the characters in her head. Based in the suburbs of Toronto, Amy is a marketer/fundraiser at a large environmental non-profit in Toronto by day, and a writer by night. Book enthusiast, animal lover and (very) amateur photographer, her interests are many and varied, including travelling, astronomy, ecology, and baking. She binge watches too much anime, and loves musical theater, Julie Andrews, the Backstreet Boys, and her hometown of Oakville, Ontario.
Connect with Amy Aislin:
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/AmyAislinAuthor
QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/amy-aislin/
Win a fantastic The Heights prize pack: signed paperback, one of a kind art print, and a set of wooden star ornaments.
Direct link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/c8c1c6415/