Love in La Terraza

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Love in La Terraza

Cain Elliott is a desperate man – on the brink of losing La Terraza, the 1920’s Spanish style courtyard apartment complex his grandmother left him in her will, he’s faced with the option of selling to a real estate developer or losing the building outright, due to the costs of upkeep that have now left him teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. One setback after another has slowly whittled away any hope he’d been harboring to turn the tides. Having time for little else in life, Cain’s guilt over his failure to protect the home of those who reside within the walls of La Terraza has crippled his spirit.

On the partnership fast-track at the flashy architectural firm of Hamilton-Bach, Henry Abrams is new in town, a little lonely and looking for inspiration. Tired of games and longing for something real, Henry discovers the road to happiness could lie in the arms of the sad, uncomplicated Cain Elliott.

Discovering that Hamilton-Bach represents the mysterious entrepreneur attempting to purchase La Terraza, combined with the self-doubt and mistrust over a love that develops too fast, leave both men struggling to decide whether or not they can truly find…Love in La Terraza.

 

PRICE: $4.99
RELEASE DATE: 09/05/12
ISBN: 978-1-60735-579-3
CATEGORY: Contemporary Erotic Romance, Male/Male.
HEAT LEVEL:  4 out of 5
FORMAT: E-BOOK

“a seriously funny writer – I was laughing hysterically.”

A Recommended Read from Mary Grzesik at USA Today’s Happily Ever After

Cain Elliott walked through the door of Sully’s Tavern, the punishing afternoon sun bearing down upon him as if to further prove his insignificance in this otherwise great big world. He’d failed yet again and spent the entire forty-five minute drive back to Ingle, Illinois from Chicago trying to think of something, anything else, he could do that he’d had yet to try.

Thus far, Cain had come up with zero, nada, abso-fuckin-lutely nothing and was currently coasting on empty and looking forward to one thing—getting sloppy-ass drunk.

Not the typical answer to a problem, Cain admitted to himself as he scanned the crowd for his group of friends, but all the hope he’d started out with so many months ago had slowly seeped away as each attempt to save La Terraza was met with failure. It had been replaced with fear and self-loathing, and Cain was coming around to the realization he would lose the very thing his grandmother had entrusted him to protect, the one thing he loved most in this world, his home.

Sully’s was packed, the usual happy hour crowd already on their way toward turning those work-day frowns upside down. A cozy sports bar with a friendly neighborhood vibe, the tavern served up greasy, fried foods, like cheese sticks, buffalo wings and potato skins along with an impressive array of imported and domestic microbrews on tap.

Owned by an ex-professional football player who’d come out of the closet after retiring, Grant Sullivan’s watering hole had become this enchanted odd gray area where gays and straights cohabitated peacefully. The vibe was always low key and relaxed. It never felt cruise-y, yet a guy could certainly pick up a hell of a lot more than a good buzz by the end of the night.

Tables and booths were littered amongst the multiple pool tables and each flat screen featured a different game of ball, whether it be of the basket, foot or base variety. The dark wood and leather-looking, vinyl-clad interior made it the perfect place to hide out from the mid-summer heat and drink all your problems away.

Cain brushed his ash-blond hair off his sweaty forehead, feeling dehydrated and all around deflated. He’d shed his sport coat and tie in the car, and his white cotton button down and khakis appeared slightly rumpled due to the heat and wrinkles of the day.

A waitress passed by with a tray full of steaming fried appetizers, and his stomach started to growl. He placed a hand on his firm, flat tummy, deciding the one benefit of being too poor to eat was easily maintaining his mid-twenties boyish figure. Dollar drafts from four to six were his only savior, the saving grace for the bit of sanity Cain had left. He wouldn’t be able to maintain the buzz he’d come to depend upon at the end of every week without them.

Spying Nicole waving madly from the booth all the way in the back, Cain plastered on his most-convincing, fake smile and waved back to let her know he’d spotted her. Pointing toward the bar to signal he’d be getting a drink before heading that direction, Cain watched, waiting until she slid back down into her seat before allowing his smile to melt away. Waving a half-hearted greeting at the occasional acquaintance, he slowly made his way through the crowd looking forward to an ice cold beer.

As he stood in line debating whether he should order one or two drafts right off the bat, he settled on two.

“And a shot of 151.” A last minute impulse addition to his order once it was finally his turn.

Yes, rum is good—a happy liquor if indeed there is such a thing.

Cain tossed some bills onto the counter and picked up his shot, hesitating momentarily as he noticed the guy watching him from farther down the bar. He smiled at Cain in that very familiar, I’d-like-to-get-you-naked kinda way.

Sexy with a classical-cultivated, preppy vibe, Cain thought. The guy practically had Log Cabin stamped across his forehead. His thick, nut-brown hair was parted down the side and brushed up off his forehead. It was long on top but cut short along the sides and back. Cain briefly pondered what it might feel like to run his hands through it, then shot the guy a quick smile while offering a cheers, before downing his shot.

The bartender still stood there, the bottle of rum in his hand as if he’d been able to sense Cain might need more than one.

“Damn, I look that bad?”

The bartender just shrugged, smiling and waiting to be told he was wrong.

Cain rolled his eyes but nodded, confirming he’d like that second shot after all. The people waiting behind him had begun to grumble, so he sucked down the sequel and quickly paid, begrudgingly leaving a two dollar tip. He whispered a fond farewell to the bills then snagged the two mugs, glancing at bachelor number one once more while thinking, Not tonight, beautiful.

With that, he headed off to face the music and downplay the severity of his situation.

The round of heartfelt cheers and warm greetings as he approached the table helped lift his sad-sack spirit just enough to help sell an almost completely genuine laugh.

“Any luck?” Eddie asked, his voice sounding painfully hopeful.

Eddie Duke was one of Cain’s tenants, along with Nicole and Stuart Stevens, a young pseudo-hippie married couple more commonly known as Nic and Stu who were currently seated just on the other side of him. He said pseudo because one could tell it was merely a phase, some last ditched attempt to abstain from conforming and ending up just like their parents. In twenty years, they’d be republican, wing-nut pod-people with a litter of greedy, selfish children who went off to college not knowing how to do their own laundry.

Cain sighed, not sure if he even wanted to stay all of a sudden. “Nope, no luck.”

“That sucks, dude,” Stu said, lightly running his hand over Nic’s back, as if he could sense she might be more worried than Cain.

“I just don’t understand it,” Nic said. “There’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to get some kind of a loan for all the repairs. The building is paid for, right?”

Nic was pretty, yet almost plain looking, with a peaches-and-cream complexion and dark black hair while Stu was thick and beefy, in that hunky, hetero frat boy way. He worked as trainer at the local gym, and she was a freelance editor—mostly of romance novels.

“Yep, no previous mortgage mucking things up, and to be clear, I can get a loan,” Cain said, taking a quick drink from his beer. “But the terms scare the shit out of me, and the interest is so high I may as well be using one of those title loan rackets.”

“It’ll all work out, you’ll see.” Eddie said, his voice laced with a tone of reassurance.

Eddie was sweet but beginning to sound naïve. He was one of Cain’s very best friends, the older, wiser, gay brother Cain had never known he’d wanted until they’d met. Eddie was blind and taught at a school for the blind, located about a block from La Terraza. His curly mop of black hair and olive skin made his light-blue eyes seem even paler and more iridescent than they actually were.

Eddie’s current main squeeze, Matt Harris, pulled up a chair so Cain could sit as there wasn’t any room left in the booth. Always the gentleman, Matt could see and had been with Eddie long enough that he now did small things like pull out people’s chairs, open doors and lightly touch them on the arm or elbow to let them know he was there.

“Have a seat, buddy. You seem beat.” Matt winked.

Wearing mainly tweed jackets, denim or corduroy, Matt seemed more like a bookworm or an English professor than he did any man’s hero, but to Eddie, Matt was exactly that. He owned a convenience store and a small, all-natural foods market. Average in height but thin, his hair seemed perpetually in need of a cut.

Matt worshiped the ground Eddie walked on. It was endearing, watching the two of them together. It sort of forced hope upon a person, proof that it really could happen, that eventually one would find that sort of love.

Cain flopped down and glanced around the table realizing one friendly face was missing. “Guess she was too busy to make it yet again.”

“You hungry? I couldn’t finish these,” Nic said, shoving her plate of cheese sticks across the table at him.

Cain smiled at her, grabbing one and taking a bite. She’d started doing this a few weeks ago, not eating all of her food and giving it to him when they went out. It was how he knew Nic would end up being an awesome mom.

“And her not being here has nothing to do with you, Cain.” Nic continued. “It’s all the wedding stuff.”

“That being the case, I, for one, am happy she isn’t here.” Stu pretended as if his hands were claws whipping through the air as he made some sort of screechy dinosaur sound. “Bridezilla!”

Eddie laughed, forever amused by the endless array of sound effects Stu had at the ready.

Nic smacked her husband despite the well-received reaction. “Weddings are stressful on the girl, damn it.”

“Um, as I recall our own nuptials,” Stu began, “I was frickin’ terrified.”

“Nice!” She slapped him again. “I wasn’t that bad!”

“No babe, you were great. It was the thought of being stuck dipping into one honey pot for the rest of my life that had me…” He trailed off, seeing her turn slowly, firing off one of her truly scary, I’ll-cut-a-bitch glares.

Cain shivered off the chill that came over him, crunching away on another cheese stick and remembering why he never wanted to be on her bad side.

The missing Bridezilla in question was Emily Haven, Cain’s best friend growing up. Most of the small town of Ingle, Illinois was owned by the Haven family, and Emily had been spoiled rotten as a result. If she wanted it, then most of the time her daddy got it for her. That being said, there were rare occasions, when she realized not everyone in the world was as wealthy as her family, at which point, she could become generous to a fault.

“Why don’t you just ask Emily for a loan?” Nic asked, shrugging apologetically as if knowing she shouldn’t have suggested it in the first place.

“Because she’s my friend, not my ATM,” Cain reminded her. “As much as I want to throttle her most of the time, I love her too much to ever risk ruining that over money.”

“How can you love something like that?” Stu asked, genuinely confused by it.

Cain laughed. “I know she can be semi-horrible, but I guess I’m just used to her. We’ve been besties ever since grade school, when she offered me the use of one of her spare princess tiaras on the playground.”

Matt and Eddie snickered under their breath.

“Hey! I could totally work a tiara in my tiny-tot days.” Cain took another long drink, finishing off what was left of his first beer and beginning to feel the tension in his neck and shoulders fade from the combination of food, rum and beer.

“Now, we know what to get him for Christmas next year,” Matt said under his breath.

Cain smiled but couldn’t seem to pull off a laugh, mainly because he’d seriously begun to doubt the fact he’d still own the apartments come Christmas.

That made him feel even worse—the thought of putting people out on the street during the holidays. He had several tenants at the moment, not including himself. Seven people would have to find a new place to live, once Cain was forced to sell La Terraza to the real estate conglomerate that had been harassing him for the last eighteen months.

6 Stars and a LOVED IT! from The Armchair Reader
“There is so much here that fans of Ethan Day will be excited about – his usual collection of funny characters and wacky RomCom scenarios, couples that remind me of guys I know in the real world, and a flair for character voice and storytelling”
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5 Stars from Joyfully Jay
“Great characters, lots of humor, great emotion, and a super hot relationship. I highly recommend it.”
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Recommended Read from Laura at the LL’s Word Review Blog
“a cast of characters that were just delicious and funny and just…DEELIGHTFUL.”
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A Recommended Read from Mary Grzesik at USA Today’s Happily Ever After
“a seriously funny writer – I was laughing hysterically.”
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4.75 Stars from Reviews by Jessewave
“In Love in La Terraza, Ethan Day has given us a sweet, very sexy and quite funny romance.”
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4.5 Stars from Chocolate Minx at Literary Nymphs Reviews
“laugh out loud hilarious.”
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4.5 Stars from The Novel Approach
“This is romantic Ethan Day, with all the charm and wit and brightly animated characters I’ve come to expect in his books.”
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4 Stars from Prism Book Alliance Reviews
“Love in La Terraza was a sweet and entertaining read.”
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4 Stars from The Romance Reviews
“Overall, this is a very enjoyable, instant love, low-angst romance.”
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4 Stars from Shirley Frances at LeAnn’s Book Reviews
“Love in La Terraza is everything I have come to expect from Ethan Day – funny, touching and sexy as hell.”
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A B+ from Book Reviews and More by Kathy
“a romance that should be on everyone’s to be read list.”
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4 Stars from Hearts on Fire Reviews
“a great story that flowed seamlessly and captured me from the beginning – I did not want it to end”
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