Celebrate this Valentine's Day with the release of
Book Two in the Valentine's Day Collection.
C.J. Baty with her first published work, A New Dream, gives us a glimpse into the world of competitive skiing and what happens when a man's Olypmic dreams are shattered. Can Walt find something new to dream about in Curt, the latest act playing at the ski resort? (m/m romance)
A split-second of time and Walt’s dreams of Olympic gold were crushed along with his right leg when he was involved in a serious accident on the ski-fields during the preliminary trials. Now he’s teaching beginners on the ski slopes of Crystal Falls Lodge, run by his family in West Virginia, and wondering if he’ll ever crawl out of the pit that his life has become. Eventually, the look of devastation on his sister’s face at how much he’s let himself go, prompts him to try harder to experience life again. First on the list: a trip to town and a haircut.
Curt Woodridge is used to traveling light. Ever since he was kicked out of home at eighteen, when his family found out he was gay, he’s been moving from one town to the next, performing in small bars and ski lodges to make his living. He is one of the lucky ones; he was saved from having to live on the streets by his agent and is genuinely happy with the way his life is going. After performing a great set at his latest gig, Curt decides to head into town and look around. He has seven days to kill before he’ll be moving on to the next gig.
Neither man is ready for love and definitely not on the streets of Flat Rock. But when neither of them is looking, quite literally, they fall hard. But how does a man who thought he’d lost everything dare to dream of a life with someone who is leaving town for good in less than a week?
Lucy from Hearts on Fire Reviews says this about A New Dream -
Curt and Walt don't have a lot of angst to go through, and I appreciated that while there is insta-love, even Walt himself admits that's what it is but it doesn't matter. "We hardly knew each other but, right now, right here, I didn't care. I was falling hard and fast for this man." That was lovely.
To see the full review, click her
A New Dream is available for purchase now on our website: www.bottomdrawerpublications.net.
Enjoy this excerpt from A New Dream:
“Walt Thompson, where the hell have you been all day? I thought you were going to rest up …” The words died on her lips as she stormed toward me.
“What’s wrong with you?” she asked, staring at me.
“You don’t like the haircut?” I asked, knowing full well that was not what she was talking about. I truly did try to hide the smile on my face.
“Well yeah, I like the haircut, but there’s something else different about you,” she said, studying my face a little more closely.
“You go ahead and keep thinking about it. I have to get upstairs and get cleaned up,” I said, feeling the heat begin to creep into my cheeks. Shit, that’s the last thing I needed to do in front of her.
“You are blushing!” Lizzie said, pointing a finger at me.
“Am not! It’s cold outside.” I turned toward the elevator door, trying to hide my grin. “I’ve got to go. See you in a little bit.” I stepped into the elevator and pushed the button for the third floor. The door thankfully slid closed before she could say anything else.
I leaned against the wall and let the laughter bubble out of me. Lizzie would be wracking her brain until she figured out what was going on. It felt so good to be that light and carefree again. I’d missed that part of my relationship with my sister, teasing her and leaving her tongue-tied. For too long she’d done nothing but worry and fret over me. The elevator stopped and I walked down the hall and let myself into my suite.
Walking through to the bathroom, I stripped off my clothes and got the shower going. While the water heated up, I looked through my closet for something to wear. Panic started to set in when I realized I had nothing that was what you would call “date material.” What was I thinking? I started pulling shirts and pants off the racks and dropping them to the floor. Finally, at the back of my closet, I found a pair of black jeans I’d completely forgotten I had. I hadn’t worn them since before the accident.
I’d stopped wearing tight fitting jeans after they had taken the pins and screws out of my leg. It was just too tender to have material touching the scarred and healing skin. I threw them on the bed along with a decent white button-down shirt I found hanging with them and went to get in the shower. Stopping before the mirror, I took a long look at myself. The first one I’d taken in some time.
I still had an athletic body. My stomach was flat and even though my abs weren’t as defined as they had been at one time, they were noticeably there. Finally letting my gaze drop to my leg, I stared at it hard, trying to see all the scars. I was very surprised and pleased to see that they were not as bad as the last time I had looked at them closely. The worst of them centered on the kneecap and feathered out around it in pale pink ribbons. Gone were the ugly red lines crisscrossing my upper thigh. I was even hard pressed to find the incision marks where the cross bolts had gone through my leg from one side to the other. The doctors had told me the scarring would grow fainter with time, but I’d never believed them. It certainly wasn’t as bad as I had allowed my mind to believe they were. Would Curt find them disgusting? From what I had learned of him today, somehow I didn’t think so.
Staying in the shower a little longer than I usually did, I tried willing my nerves to relax. I wanted this. Mike’s walking out on me when I needed him most had left me unwilling to give anyone a chance. I knew I was ready to try again.
I noticed that it was after eight so I hurried to dress. The tight fit of the jeans didn’t bother my leg at all, and the white shirt looked great with the top buttons left undone. It was time to start again, and I found I was very excited about it.
Downstairs I could hear the music drifting into the lobby from the lounge as soon as I stepped off the elevator. It was something upbeat and modern though I didn’t know the song itself. I was just about to enter the doorway into the lounge when I heard him. My breath caught in my throat as I stood there, unable to move forward.
Curt was singing a love song. His voice was honey-sweet and tender as he sang the words of the song. I noticed a few couples dancing, clinging to each other and barely moving to the music in the darkened room. I don’t know if the others in the room were as affected by his voice as I was, but every cell in my body began to hum along with the melody he was singing. I didn’t even notice when Lizzie came up beside me, poking me gently in the side to get my attention.
“He’s good,” she whispered, hugging my arm. “I’m so glad we have him. I’ve heard nothing but compliments from everyone who’s been in here the last few nights.”
The music from the piano continued to pour out across the room. He changed songs and it was an instrumental piece this time. It was the music itself that seemed to speak now. I watched as his fingers glided gracefully across the keyboard. With his eyes closed, he was as lost in the music as the rest of the people in the room were.
“You look wonderful tonight, Walt,” Lizzie said, looking me over. “And you have some explaining to do. I know something is going on. I’m not going to let you get away without telling me. Let’s go get a seat.”
I didn’t want to talk. I wanted to listen while Curt performed. He morphed from that song into another, and I recognized it was a song by Snow Patrol. Curt sang “Chasing Cars” with a lazy baritone voice. A chill went through me when he looked across the room and stared straight at me.
“Walt?” Lizzie pulled on my hand. “Come on.”
I walked with her to the table at the back right hand corner of the lounge reserved for her and Luke. Sitting down, I angled my chair so I faced the stage where Curt continued to sing to the crowd, looking directly at me on occasion. Lizzie started talking almost immediately when we sat down, but I barely heard a word she was saying. I could not get the man on the stage out of my mind.
Curt finished up two more songs, and then stood beside the piano to smile and bow at the audience who were clapping wildly. He looked across the room to where I sat with Lizzie, who for some unknown reason was still talking to me even though I was ignoring her, and smiled.
“I’ll be back in about fifteen minutes, folks, and thank you all very much,” he said to the crowd who were still clapping as he made his way across the room in our direction. I watched as two very pretty young ladies stopped him about halfway. Chatting to him and giggling. He just smiled and nodded at them, but the whole time he never took his eyes off me. I could feel the heat of his stare from where I was sitting. Eventually he said his goodbyes and finally made it to stand in front of our table.
He looked amazing. The jeans he was wearing fit tight across his thighs; I had seen the muscles there bunch and relax as he had walked toward me. He was wearing a typical knitted ski sweater, and it stretched across his chest in the most alluring way. His hair, free from the cap he’d worn earlier in the day, hung freely about his shoulders and looked soft as silk. His eyes sparkled when he smiled at me with his one dimpled smile.
“Good evening, Lizzie. Are you enjoying the music so far?” Curt asked politely of my sister.
“Yes, you are a wonderful musician, and I just love your voice. By the way, this is my brother, Walt Thompson,” Lizzie said, gesturing in my direction. “He must like your music too, because he hasn’t heard a word I’ve said since we walked in the place.” She giggled.
“Lizzie!” I was embarrassed by her antics. “I just thought his voice sounded better than yours.”
“Really?” Curt asked with a teasing lilt to his voice.
“Really.” I blushed again.
“Am I missing something here?” Lizzie asked us, looking back and forth between Curt and me.
“I sort of ran Walt over, today in town,” Curt said, and he was the one blushing now. “He let me buy him lunch to make up for it.”
Lizzie’s lips formed an O but no sound came out. I loved her reaction and couldn’t help chuckling at her.
I could almost see the wheels working in her head, behind those wide brown eyes of hers. I had to get her out of the room before she embarrassed me completely. I saw Sage, the bartender, behind the bar waving at us, so I used that as an excuse to sidetrack my sister once again.
“Liz, look, Sage is waving at you. There must be a problem at the bar. Do you think you should go check it out?” I asked as innocently as I could.
“Now what?” she moaned, stood, and walked toward the bar, but then she turned back and added, “We’ll finish this later, oh brother of mine.”
Curt and I watched her leave. He turned to me and looked me over carefully before he spoke.
“You look wonderful tonight,” he murmured as he slid into the seat that Lizzie had vacated.
“Ah, thank you. You look pretty good yourself,” I replied after finding my tongue.
“I should finish up around midnight. Can I see you when the set is over?” he asked, his voice dropping an octave as he spoke.
“I’d like that. Would you like to come back to my suite for a drink … or maybe some food or …” I left the sentence hanging open on purpose.
“Or?” His eyebrow arched with the question.
I found it hard to swallow with the way he was looking at me. My heart felt like it was going to beat its way out of my chest at any moment. The blood was rushing through my veins, causing me to break out in a light sweat. I was sure he knew what I was offering, and I was equally sure he was teasing me yet again.
The canned music that had been playing while he was on his break stopped. It was his signal to return to the stage and start his next set.
“Will you be here when I finish?” he asked softly, leaning closer into my body.
“Yes,” I answered. I could feel the pull between us.“I’m glad.” He left a soft kiss on my lips before he walked away.
Bottom Drawer Publications