Author Name: Pat Henshaw
Release Date: Wednesday, July 15 2020
Is This Book Romance?: Yes
Story Type: Novella 20k-50k
Word Count: 31,500
Genres: contemporary gay romance
LGBTQ+ Identities: gay
Tropes: friends to lovers, lovers' games,
Keywords/Categories: Gay/MM bartender romance, Gay/MM biker romance, Gay/MM barista romance, Gay/MM Alpha hero romance, Gay/MM friends to lovers, Gay/MM opposites attract, Gay/MM city mouse/country mouse
Is This Part of a Series?: Yes
Series Title: Foothills Pride
Position (Number) in Series: #1 of 8
Necessary to Read Previous Books: No, But It Doesn't Hurt
On his 30th birthday, barista Jimmy Patterson decides to get rip-roaring drunk after his roommate-boyfriend abandons him at a bar in the tiny California foothills town of Stone Acres where they have relocated from San Francisco. Jimmy is immediately rescued by the burly owner of Stonewall Saloon, who has had his eye on Jimmy since the first time he came in months before.
Jimmy’s fine with being saved but wants to know the bartender’s real name since the guy has worn name tags with an assortment of names every time Jimmy has spoken to him. After Jimmy nicknames him Guy, the bartender decides to turn guessing his first name into a game, giving Jimmy a guess a day for a week and promising to wine and dine him during that time. If Jimmy’s guess is wrong, he owes Guy a zing-zow, knock-your-socks-off kiss. Jimmy agrees since this sounds like a slam-dunk, win-win deal.
While he searches for cringe-worthy given names, Jimmy is distracted by the destruction of his shopping mall coffee shop. He is also beset by the town council that doesn’t want him to buy an historic bank building in Old Town Stone Acres to set up another coffee shop. The celestial high of being romanced by Guy and the abyss of business worries don’t seem like the road to happily ever after. However, Jimmy and Guy might be in for a big surprise.
After housing prices rose to unbelievable heights in the San Francisco metropolitan area at the turn of the current century, gay men headed for the Sierra Nevada foothills. The historic former mining town of Stone Acres with its gay sheriff seemed like the perfect place to settle. But the conservative white descendants of the early town fathers seem ready to fight back. Is a move East the solution the gay men are looking for?
Is there anything worse than waking up with a really bad hangover? The answer, I found out that morning, was a solid yes. My particular hell was waking up in a strange bed with someone lying next to me, who’s snoring away so loud I was surprised the neighbors weren’t complaining. What made it all worse was I had to pee really, really bad, and I didn’t have a clue where the bathroom was.
I lay on my back taking stock. I was naked, covered with a beige sheet and navy blue comforter in a huge bed, my head taking up most of the California king space.
Where the heck was I? I had no clue. I really didn’t care because I was hurting so badly it’d probably be better if whoever lived here would just shoot me and put me out of my misery.
Still, I had to pee, so I slowly swam to the edge of the bed, trying not to move any body parts. Which was a complete failure. I ached all over. Had someone beaten me up?
As I reached the side of the bed and peered over the edge at the floor a few stories below, I groaned. Where was the ladder to climb down to the carpeting? I clutched the edge of the bed with one hand and rolled to my side.
“Hey, where you going, Jimmy?”
I hadn’t noticed the snoring had stopped until the voice boomed in my ear.
Carefully, I turned my head.
The Stonewall Saloon bartender with the nametag of Alex last night was peering at me over his chest of hair. His eyes were squinted. A slender beam of light from a gap in the curtains was aimed at his face.
“Bathroom. Pee.” I sighed. “Gotta pee.”
“Right.” He groaned and caused a tidal wave on the mattress even though it wasn’t a water bed.
My body reacted with the seismic quake and my stomach protested. I swallowed back the rising pain even though I knew my gut had nothing left in it to come up.
I felt large hands under my arms.
“Right this way.”
His voice clanged from one of my ears to the other.
He turned me, and we marched to a doorway and into the bathroom. Carefully, he lowered my nude body down onto the toilet.
“No spilling.” He turned away and walked into the hallway.
I pushed my limp dick between my legs and did my thing, not spilling a drop on the bathroom floor or the toilet seat. Then I rested my arm on the sink counter next to the toilet and put my head on my arm.
“Nope, no snoozing here.” His voice boomed. “C’mon. It’s way too early for this shit.”
Again arms lifted me. After I balanced myself, one hand left. The toilet roiled. The hand returned.
“We’d usually wash our hands,” the voice murmured through me, “but I think we’ll skip it this time.”
Back in bed, covered, dry mouthed, I decided it was again nap time.
THE NEXT time I woke, I was awake. Awake awake. Oh my God, where in the hell am I awake. Shit, I’m in big trouble awake. Where are my clothes awake.
I took inventory. No pain in the ass. That was a relief. No smell of semen. Check, and another sigh. No aches and pains that weren’t directly related to way, way too many shots and beers, check. No clothes. No clothes?
I was okay, pretty much, other than naked, hungover, and in a stranger’s house.
Damn it, I was thirty years old, naked in a stranger’s bed, with only a hazy recollection of what happened after my now former boyfriend Alex stranded me at the Stone Acres’ historic saloon.
I had a hazy memory of the bartender helping me to the bar bathroom the night before and this morning. So was I at his house? If so, how’d I get here?
“Um,” I tried to say, but my mouth was glued shut.
I reached over to feel the side of the bed. Still there. Then I reached over to the other side. Nothing. No one.
Okay, I was alone in a strange bed as my memory filtered back online. I had been an ass, and the bartender with the faux name of Alex had taken care of me anyway. I owed him my firstborn child, should such a thing happen to me now in my boyfriendless state. I owed Alex the bartender everything, including my pride and gratitude.
What I really needed to do was apologize for causing him so much trouble.
Slowly I sat up and then stood. My knees protested, so I sat back down and then tried again. This time my knees cooperated.
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Pat Henshaw, born and raised in Nebraska, has lived on the U. S.’s three coasts, in Texas, Virginia, and now California. Before she retired, she held a number of jobs, including theatrical costumer, newspaper features reporter and movie reviewer, librarian, junior college English instructor, and publicist. She also loves to travel and has visited Canada, Mexico, Europe, Egypt, and Central America as well as almost all fifty U. S. states.
Now retired, she enjoys reading and writing as well as visiting her older daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren on the East Coast and playing havoc with her younger daughter’s life in NorCal.
She thanks you for reading her books and wants you to remember that Every day is a good day for romance.
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