Huge thanks to Miss Lisa and the lovely folks at The Novel Approach for having us on the blog today to talk about our latest book from the In the Kitchen Series: In the Distance.
We’ve brought with us an exclusive outtake with us, so we hope you’re hungry!
Length: 105,000 Words
Series: In the Kitchen, Book 3
Release Date: June 15, 2015
Publisher: Carina Press
Blurb: Because sometimes it takes some distance to finally see what’s right in front of you…
Tyler Mitchell has worked hard to rebuild his life after his family kicked him out. A culinary student and sous chef who spends his spare time volunteering with kids, he’s happy enough even though he has no time to consider a relationship.
Trevor Pratt is finally getting over losing his best friend and the one person he wanted to spend the rest of his life with, but it’s taken screwing every cute guy in Manhattan to get there. He’s vowed to repair the friendship he endangered, but that’s hard to do when his friend’s new employee catches his eye. Despite being warned to stay away from Tyler, Trevor knows the sous chef is more than just a hookup.
Romance is a terrible idea. Trevor is ten years older and a relentless playboy. Tyler is still unsure of his place in the world. Neither of them is ready for life-changing love, but as things heat up, their chemistry in the bedroom might just take that decision out of their hands.
Read about Ethan and Jamie’s romance in In the Raw and In The Fire, Books 1 & 2 in the In The Kitchen Series, available now!
Excerpt: I threw him a dirty look over my shoulder as we walked out of the diner. “Okay. So I might have had my dad’s Platinum AmEx card to help me out, but I struggled just like the rest of my classmates.”
Tyler’s low, deep laugh hit me in all the right, and wrong, places. “Poor baby. I’m sure it was hard to choose between the double shot extra whip latte and the regular Joe Blow latte.”
God, it was good to hear him laugh. “Hey now. Leave my double shot latte out of this,” I shot back as I unlocked the doors to the Mercedes coupe I’d rented.
His laughter slowly faded as I pulled out of the parking lot. I had only been to Ethan’s old place a few times when Jamie had first moved back to Seattle and before they had bought a new condo together. But Tyler made sure to keep me on the right track with directions, his voice getting softer and softer the closer we got to the apartment.
I pulled up to the curb, letting the car idle instead of parking and walking him to his door. As much as I found myself not wanting the night to end, it wouldn’t have been smart to push whatever this was. Anyone else? We’d already be upstairs with Tyler’s pants around his ankles and my mouth on him. But he wasn’t just anyone else.
Tyler, who had been staring out his window, slowly turned toward me. The soft lights of the dash barely illuminated his face. God, he looked young, innocent and worth every ounce of protectiveness he brought out in the people who cared about him.
“Thanks for the ride. And dinner. It was nice.”
He turned again and reached for the door handle.
“Hey, Tyler. Wait up.”
Exclusive Outtake from In the Distance: When we’re writing the first draft of our current WIP, we usually throw in everything we can think of into the outline and MS, then go back through and cull what doesn’t work or drags the story’s timing.
That was the case with two of our scenes from our latest novel, In The Distance, Book Three of our In The Kitchen Series, each of which centered around Thanksgiving. In our minds, we could see the extreme difference between how Tyler and Trevor spend their holidays – one spending it at a homeless shelter; the other spending it surrounded by family and friends, but still feeling incredibly alone. We decided to cut both and save them for outtakes, but I firmly believe Tyler’s interaction with his mom and their family friends gives the reader a little bit of insight earlier rather than later on in the book into Trevor’s fragile heart and emotional well-being. We hope you enjoy this glimpse into Trevor’s past ☺
~ Nikka Michaels and Eileen Griffin
“So the writer looks at the detective, all excited, and says, ‘My agent called?’”
I held back my sigh of annoyance and, instead, threw my head back and laughed my best fake laugh. “Ah, that’s a good one.”
I wanted to tell him I was a manager who was interested in the well-being of my clients, unlike most agents I’d worked with over the years who were mostly concerned with making the most lucrative deal, but in today’s entertainment business, the lines between the two were blurring so much that most people didn’t even know the two jobs weren’t one and the same.
The senior partner at my dad’s firm laughed at his joke, then moved on to the next group of unsuspecting victims. It was times like these I wondered how my parents had kept their sanity by continuing to uphold their tradition of inviting anyone and everyone who didn’t have a place to be on Thanksgiving to their house for dinner and laughter.
The man standing next to me laid a hand on my shoulder and squeezed. “Well that was a joke none of us had heard before. Between you and me, if I have to listen to Warren tell me what a hot shot you are behind the scenes of the culinary world one more time, I may just have to accidentally throw my racquet at him during our next court time at the club.”
I didn’t embarrass easily, but I felt my cheeks warm from Mr. Slater’s compliment. “Thanks, but feel free to kick my dad’s ass at racquetball anytime you want. You don’t have to wait for him to brag on his spoiled brat of a son to do it.”
“Warren will be happy to know it didn’t take me whining much for you to throw him under the bus. Speaking of, I’m off to find your old man to squeeze another glass of his Macallan from him.” He chuckled softly as he scanned the room to find my dad. “He’s had that damn scotch for too long and it’s time he enjoyed it.”
I caught my dad’s eye across the room and nodded. “I’d join you but I’m headed out too. However, I’ll let you in on a little secret.” I leaned in closer and whispered, “Dad purchased a bottle of Highland Park at auction a few years ago. If you think the Macallan is good, you’re in for a treat with the fifty year-old single malt he’s got stashed away. Top left corner of the antique liquor cabinet in his study.”
Mr. Slater’s deep laugh had never failed to make me smile growing up and being the one to get that reaction from him was a nice treat after doing the family thing today. “I see you’re still a troublemaker. Take care of yourself and don’t be a stranger. Your dad and I may be too old farts, but I bet we can still take you on the court.”
“I’ll happily take you up on that bet,” I snorted and gave him a hug. Once I was alone again, I took a sip of my wine as I watched him walk over to my dad.
Franklin Slater and my dad, Warren Anderson Pratt, had grown up together in upstate New York and roomed together during their days at UT—my dad in in the school of advertising and Mr. Slater in the school of architecture. It had taken some time to establish themselves once they’d graduated and moved back home, but the real estate boom of the 80s helped each of them to make a solid name for themselves in New York society. At least half of Midtown’s Upper East Side bore Mr. Slater’s mark in one way or another and my dad cleaned up by gaining the right connections both in entertainment and business to market their name to the public. Almost forty years later, both men had amassed small fortunes and were at the top of the food chain in their fields. My mom and Mrs. Slater often joked about their close friendship, feigning jealousy that their two husbands never missed their beloved racquetball match, unless one of them was out of town and physically incapable of making it to the club.
“It means a lot to your dad that you’re here tonight. We missed you last year.”
I turned to face my mother, whose smile widened as she watched Mr. Slater drag my dad out of the formal dining room waving his empty crystal tumbler in my dad’s face. Before the turned the corner, Mr. Slater looked across the room to find my eyes and winked, a very self-satisfied expression prominent on his face.
“Wait until Dad finds out I let it spill that he just might have a seventeen thousand dollar bottle of scotch in his study that needs opening. He might just cut me from the guest list for the next family get together.”
My mom’s surprised laughter was followed up by a gentle swat on my arm. “Your dad is going to kill you.”
“Nah. If it was anyone other than his second wife hinting that he open it, he would. But we both he can never refuse Mr. Slater anything.”
“God, those two really do act like an old married couple. Don’t they?”
I smiled at my mom, still as beautiful as she was in her wedding picture. At age fifty-six, Margaret Windsor Pratt—Maggie, to my dad and her closest friends—still turned heads when she and my dad went out on the town. Daughter of an investment broker, my mom had grown up in New York’s elite society, but had always worked hard not to let her family’s money and status make her one of the “obnoxious socialites” she’d grown up with. My dad and mom both happened to attend a social gala that Mr. Slater’s company hosted, talked all night and into the morning, both freely admitting to this day it had been love at first sight. It was a disgustingly romantic story I’d heard hundreds of times over the years, and I secretly envied them.
She looked around the crowded room and sighed. “You know, I keep thinking one year we’ll have a small family Thanksgiving dinner with just the three of us. Maybe invite your Uncle Thomas and his family. But your dad can’t quite seem to give this up.”
I shook my head as I looked around my parents’ crowded living room. Their townhouse, only a few blocks away from Central Park, was anything but small. However, the large crowd of extended “family” my parents had chosen to invite to this year’s Thanksgiving meal made it feel that way at the moment. “You both have been doing this for so long, it would be weird with just the three of us.” I shuddered wondering how any of us would deal with the lack of noise.
“Weird, but nice. Maybe next year.” My mom paused and then laughed as she pointed to my dad and Mr. Slater reentering the living room with fresh—and halfway full—crystal tumblers.
She playfully swatted my arm, still laughing. “That’s all your fault, you know?”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about. Dad needed a reason to open that scotch. I just provided an excuse for him.”
“You’re just lucky your father has a partner in crime to get into trouble with. Speaking of? How is Jamie?”
I couldn’t help it. I flinched. What was even worse? My mom noticed it.
© 2015 Nikka Michaels and Eileen Griffin
EILEEN GRIFFIN BIO: Eileen Griffin lives in the southwest, but loves to travel and has spent many summers crossing Europe with nothing but a backpack on her back. She enjoys TexMex, lives for good wine, and has a certain penchant for purple unicorns. She loves reading all genres of books, but her current obsession is writing M/M romance.
NIKKA MICHAELS BIO: Nikka Michaels lives in the rainy Pacific Northwest where she spends her time cooking, laughing and crafting romantic tales to satisfy her craving for HEAs with heat. A voracious reader, novice knitter and music lover she’s been known to multitask without breaking a sweat. She loves to read and write M/M romance but believes everyone deserves a love story.
We’re giving away one eBook copy of In the Distance.
What’s your favorite comfort food? Leave a comment below to enter the drawing to win. Comments must be received by Midnight Pacific time on Sunday, June 21, 2015 to qualify. One winner will be selected on Monday, the 22nd, and notified by email for prize delivery.