My newest release feature is Counting Down by Kelly Jensen.
It’s been a week since a Christmas Eve blizzard changed the course of Marcus Winnamore’s life. Plan A is now Plan B, and the first item on his new agenda is taking Henry Auttenberg on a date. They’ve been invited to a New Year’s Eve party, and Marc is counting down the hours until midnight… until he can kiss Henry in front of his colleagues and friends.
Things don’t quite work out to plan. Finding the elevator out of service, Marc and Henry check the stairs, only to choose the wrong door, and become locked in the basement. Close quarters once again make for close conversation, and as they explore every avenue of escape, they also explore the deepening attraction between them. For Marc, this isn’t an experiment. Will he still feel that way when he has to admit to someone other than Henry that he’s gay?
I asked Kelly my typical questions, see what she had to say!!
Tell us one interesting trait about your heroes.
Marc isn’t stubborn, he’s determined. Forward momentum is his mantra, or as Henry so often observes, “Over, under, around or through.” Henry is equally determined, but quieter about it. He comes across as shy, but Marc quickly learns that he isn’t a pushover. Henry also likes to count things, which isn’t really so much a trait as a hobby, but Marc and I find it interesting.
Describe your book in 5 words or less.
A disastrous second date.
Is this book part of a series, and when can we expect to see more?
Counting Down is book two of the Counting series. Book three, Counting on You is written, but I have no information regarding a possible release date at this time. What I can tell you is that it’s a super sweet HEA for Henry and Marc.
What are you currently working on?
I’m revising a contemporary romance novel about a single dad who falls for his new next door neighbor. It’s called Irresistible and will hopefully be the first of three linked stories about a group of guys who are mostly in their 40s.
What is your all-time favorite m/m romance read?
The “Something Like” series by Jay Bell. If I had to pick just one of the books, Something Like Autumn. Although it was a devastating read for a number of reasons, Jace is a character who has stayed with me, three years after I read his story.
Counting Down Excerpt
“The door is locked,” Henry said. “It’s like a security door. We can’t unlock it from this side without a card.” He pointed out the small black card reader neither of them had noticed before.
“How did we even get it open?”
“Dunno. Maybe someone else tried to come this way and didn’t pull it closed properly.” Or let it slam behind them as they focused on a kiss. “Let’s just go see if there’s another staircase at the bottom of the other one. Sometimes these old buildings have crazy architecture.”
Marc licked his lips. “Okay.”
An awful tight feeling low in his gut hinted they’d find nothing at the bottom of the stairs but the bottom of the stairs. Still, it was worth a try. Every plan had a backup. Henry was already angling past him. Marc stepped ahead. He was a take-charge kinda guy. A locked door wasn’t going to be the end of his night.
The stairs terminated in another hallway lined by four doors.
Henry issued a choky sort of chuckle. “We’re going to spend our first date locked in a basement on New Year’s Eve, after spending Christmas Eve stuck in a car during a blizzard.”
It wasn’t time to panic. Not yet. “Nah, we’re still coming up with ideas for a new reality show. First one was called The Freezer, right? Survivors get shunted to The Basement for season two.”
Henry tried one of the doors. When it opened, he stuck his head in. “Or The Laundry. Where all dirty secrets come clean.”
Marc groaned. “That is so bad.”
“Yep.” Henry let the door close and wrapped his arms around himself.
“No, just….” Henry shook his head. “Let’s try the other doors.”
Two were locked. The last opened to the odor of wet cardboard and old banana skins. Marc fumbled for a light switch and found it. A rusted trash compactor the size of a Dumpster took up half the concrete room. Stacked boxes vied for the rest of the space, leaving just enough for the door to swing open.
Marc shut off the light and closed the door. “Okay, we’re not going to be the only guests who make this mistake. We’ll just camp out up by the lobby door and wait for someone else to open it.”
Henry produced his cell phone. “Or we could call for help.” His brow furrowed. “Except I have no signal.”
A deepening sense of déjà vu enveloped Marc as he pulled his cell phone out. He noted the time first. Just after nine o’clock. Three hours until midnight. Maybe their first public kiss wouldn’t be public at all.
If aliens ever do land on Earth, Kelly will not be prepared, despite having read over a hundred stories of the apocalypse. Still, she will pack her precious books into a box and carry them with her as she strives to survive. It’s what bibliophiles do.
Kelly is the author of a number of novels, novellas and short stories, including the Chaos Station series, co-written with Jenn Burke. Some of what she writes is speculative in nature, but mostly it’s just about a guy losing his socks and/or burning dinner. Because life isn’t all conquering aliens and mountain peaks. Sometimes finding a happy ever after is all the adventure we need.