Please welcome author Elyse Springer and the Heat Wave blog tour, her newest release in the Seasons of Love universe…
Summer is here, and what better way to relax by the pool than with a steamy romance! I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that Sara and Laura’s relationship is hotter than Manhattan in July, and I can’t wait to introduce you to these snarky and sexy ladies. I’ll be touring throughout the week to talk about my new release, Heat Wave, and I hope you’ll follow along. Plus, there’s a pretty sweet prize in it if you do!
Sara Walker’s life is going nowhere fast: she has a job she enjoys but doesn’t love, friends who are too busy to hang out with her, and no boyfriend in sight. Then a phone call on a lonely Friday night changes everything, and suddenly she’s spending her weekends with Laura. Newly single and openly bisexual, Laura makes Sara think decidedly not-straight thoughts.
Laura Murphy, with her red hair, freckles, and killer curves, is any guy’s wet dream. But Laura’s done with guys for now, and it’s Sara who can’t stop dreaming about her. When Sara finally gives in to the curiosity, Laura blows her mind and pushes her further than she’s ever gone before.
But Laura makes it very clear that this is only a rebound fling, and she’s still planning to move to California. She’s more than happy to tie Sara up, but she’s not ready to be tied down. If Sara wants to keep her, she’s going to have to work hard to convince Laura that New York is worth staying for . . . and so is she.
READ THE FIRST CHAPTER HERE
It was barely nine o’clock on a Friday night, and Sara was already wearing her pajamas.
“Pathetic,” she said to the TV.
The TV didn’t respond, but instead launched into a commercial. Sara hit Power on the remote and flung it onto the coffee table with enough resentful force to send it tipping off the other side onto the floor.
She eyed her silent phone. No calls, no texts. Not a single person messaging her on social media.
The apartment was quiet with the TV off, and she could hear her upstairs neighbors’ loud music, the wooden floors creaking as people moved around.
Not for the first time that evening, she ran through the list in her head:
There was her best friend, Nathan, but he was on stage tonight. And, Sara added mentally, he’d probably be out with his disgustingly hot boyfriend if he wasn’t working.
Kathy from the diner was sometimes good for a night out, but she was at home with her newborn child and her still-in-the-honeymoon-stages husband.
Elena had posted on Facebook that she was going on a date.
Abby was . . . actually, Sara realized with a start, Abby probably wasn’t busy.
Sara grabbed her phone eagerly and sent a text.
Sara: wanna grab mexican and a beer w me tonite?
The reply came only a few minutes later.
Abby: Can’t sorry, waiting for Gabrielle’s performance to finish and then we’re getting dinner.
Sara fell back onto the couch cushions and sighed.
“Why the hell is everyone paired up suddenly?” she asked the empty room.
She tossed her phone onto the table (more gently than the remote) and pushed herself up. There were a few beers in the back of the fridge that Nate had brought over, and a bar of dark chocolate she’d purchased during an ill-advised trip to Trader Joe’s the weekend before. She’d been the only single person wandering around the store on a Sunday afternoon, surrounded by hipster couples holding hands and arguing about fair-trade organic kale or whatever.
All right, Walker, stop being pathetic.
It had been almost eight months since she’d broken up with Robbie. Eight months of being the third wheel at restaurants, the loner at parties. Eight months with a cold spot on the bed beside her and a regular Amazon shipment that included double-A batteries.
“Fuck it. Chocolate and beer it is.”
It hadn’t been too bad for a while. Nate had been single for a few months at the beginning of the year, and even if he’d placed gold in the Moping Olympics before winning back his boyfriend, he’d still been someone to hang out with in the evenings.
Now it was just Sara and BOB—her Battery Operated Boyfriend.
Her phone rang while she was popping the top off of the beer (while cursing Nate for not getting screw-tops), and she was startled enough to spill beer all over her hand and the floor. She set the beer down in its own puddle, searched frantically for a towel to wipe her hand with, and then dove for the living room.
There was a pause, and then a woman’s voice asked, “Did I call at a bad time?”
Sara took a deep breath and let it out. “No, I just had to run for the phone.” She pulled the phone away from her ear and looked at the display. A New York area code, but not a number she had programmed. “Um, who is this?”
The caller laughed. “It’s Laura.”
It took Sara a second to come up with a face to match the name. It wasn’t like she knew many Lauras, and those who came to mind definitely wouldn’t be calling on a Friday night to chat. “Robbie’s Laura?” she asked, trying to narrow it down. “The one who helped us out with the makeup thing a while back?”
There was a longer silence now. “Yeah, Laura Murphy,” she said slowly. “But not Robbie’s Laura anymore.”
“Oh.” Open mouth, insert foot. Sara sat down on the arm of the couch. “Sorry?”
“That’s actually why I’m calling?” Laura’s voice rose at the end, like she wasn’t entirely sure.
Sara shook her head. “I am so not the right person to ask if you’re looking for advice to get back with him.” Sara and Robbie had dated for several months, before they’d split amicably. He’d met Laura soon after. Sara and Robbie had been good together. The sex had been a hell of a lot better than good. But Sara still wasn’t sure why they’d broken things off. If she couldn’t even solve her own relationship problems, then helping someone else with theirs was a terrible idea.
“Not interested,” Laura said shortly. “Remember how you said you’d owe me one for helping your friend out?”
Sara had, in fact, said that. She hadn’t ever expected the favor to be called in, but then she hadn’t expected a professional makeup artist to drop everything and come out to Brooklyn to help Sara’s friend Abby win the heart of an internationally renowned super model, either. But the fact that Laura had kept her number all these months later was surprising.
“All right, fair enough. What do you need?”
“A drinking partner.”
“Ohhh.” Okay, so it was that kind of breakup. “Wait, what the hell happened? I thought you and Robbie were solid.”
Laura laughed bitterly. “Found his ass in bed with my roommate when I got home early from work last night. Threw his clothes out the window. Now I’m down a boyfriend and probably gotta find a new roommate too.”
“So, drinks, then,” Sara said.
“Please.” Laura sounded the level of desperate that could only be fixed by loud music and hard alcohol. “You free?”
Sara looked around at her empty apartment, her beer sweating condensation on the counter, the chocolate melting in the June heat that her tiny window air conditioner unit could never hope to overpower. “Yeah,” she said. “I could be. When and where?”
Laura rattled off an address in Astoria.
“That’s a hell of a long way to go for some over-priced drinks.”
“Yeah, I’m sure it is. But remember the part where you owe me?”
Sara sighed. Still, she could sit around on the couch smelling like spilled beer and hope her Netflix queue had something interesting in it, or she could find a clean pair of jeans and call an Uber. “All right. Gimme half an hour or so.”
“Deal. See you.” Laura hung up without saying good-bye.
Sara sat for another minute, trying to sort through what had just happened. Laura was her complete opposite in more than just the physical: bubbly and energetic where Sara was well-known for her resting bitch face. Laura had a job that everyone envied, was charming and flirty; Sara worked at a twenty-four-hour diner that had seen better days, and was more blunt and sarcastic than anything else.
But she liked Laura. Even though Laura was dating her ex. Had been dating her ex. And damn if there wasn’t some juicy gossip there that Sara wanted to get her hands on.
Okay, I’ll go, if only because my curiosity will kill me otherwise.
She tugged on her jeans and a black tank top, tied her hair up, and managed to get out the door in under ten minutes.
The Uber driver was thankfully one of those silent types who didn’t try to engage her in conversation. Sara texted Laura when she was in the car, then texted Nathan.
Sara: goin to queens to drink with my ex’s ex. pretty fucked up right? anyways gotta tell you all the deets so call me tomorrow k?
Nathan wouldn’t see the text until after the show ended, but he’d never liked Robbie much and would probably love to hear that Sara’s former boyfriend had been caught cheating.
The driver pulled up in front of the address Laura had given her, and Sara climbed out into the muggy evening. It was still hot and humid even though the sun had set, which didn’t bode well for the rest of the summer.
But the bar had AC, loud music that hit Sara like a solid wall when she walked in, and a crowded group of half-drunk twentysomethings. In other words, it was exactly what Sara needed tonight.
She spotted Laura pretty easily; the other woman had found two spots on the end of the bar and claimed them both. Unfortunately for her, some guy wearing a polo and a pretentious haircut had also spotted her and was leaning over the empty chair.
Sara moved closer until she could hear the conversation over the music.
“. . . let me buy you a drink at least?” the guy asked. “C’mon, you look lonely and someone as good-lookin’ as you should never be sitting alone at the bar.”
Laura glanced over at him briefly, then turned back to the TV above the bar. “I’m fine.”
Polo was either drunk or stupid. “You waiting for your boyfriend? What kinda guy makes his girl wait so long? You’ve been here for like fifteen minutes. I saw you when you came in, been watching you.”
“Stalker much?” Laura asked, still staring at the TV like it was the most fascinating thing she’d ever seen.
“Hey, don’t be like that,” the guy said.
Sara loudly cleared her throat from behind him. The guy didn’t look up.
Laura turned her head, though. She gave Sara a combination eye roll and shrug that said, Can you believe this guy?
“Hey, dude, fuck off,” Sara said.
The guy finally turned his head, temporarily abandoning his one-sided conversation to glare at Sara.
Sara was only five six, but she knew how to appear taller. She worked in a diner that catered to construction workers, night-shift security, and cops. She could hold her own against guys much bigger than Polo here.
“What’d you say?” the guy asked.
Sara pulled her shoulders back, jutting her chin up. “I said get lost,” she responded. “You’re blocking my chair and annoying my friend.”
“Hey, she’ll tell me herself if she wants—”
“She shouldn’t have to.” Sara took a step forward, crowding into the guy’s space until he had no choice but to step back. He watched her wide-eyed as she slid into the empty seat.
Laura gave her a smile and a buss on the cheek like they were old friends, taking the chance when their cheeks were pressed together to say, “This guy’s been bothering me since I sat down.”
“Want me to get security?”
“Nah, it’s fine.”
They turned back to the bar, arm to arm. Sara rolled her shoulders, waving the bartender over. “God damn but I need a drink.”
Polo still was standing awkwardly behind her. It was pretty obvious that he wasn’t sure how to react.
Sara glanced over her shoulder. “Shoo.” She brushed him away like he was a bad smell, and Polo finally left, looking lost.
“I’m so sick of men right now,” Laura said after giving their order.
Sara took her beer with a smile and nod. “Totally understandable, though you can’t deny that they have their uses!”
Laura tilted her beer toward Sara, and they clinked the necks together. “Thanks for coming out tonight,” she said.
“Of course. Never thought Robbie would cheat though.”
Laura grimaced and took a pull from the beer. “Me either. But there you have it. Fuck men.”
“Cheers.” Sara hefted her beer and took a drink. “Fuck men.”
If Sara had worried that they’d spend the entire night talking about Robbie while Laura tried not to cry, she was pleased to be proven wrong. Laura set her bottle down and launched straight into a rant about how the only sports on in the bar were baseball and soccer and she was so ready for hockey to start back up in the fall.
Sara rolled her bottle between her hands and let Laura talk, adding her own comments in when there was a pause, but mostly content to relax and watch. Laura was fiercely passionate, her eyes bright in the dim light of the bar and her hands flying about as she punctuated a point.
A few guys hovered at the bar next to her, their eyes flickering over Laura while they waited for their drinks. She didn’t appear to notice.
“Damn it.” Laura drained her beer and set the empty bottle on the bar. “I needed to get out tonight. You wanna dance?”
“With you?” Sara’s eyebrows went up.
Laura laughed and winked. “Yeah, with me,” she said. “That a problem?”
Sara had danced with friends before, in groups, but the look in Laura’s eyes said she was asking something completely different. “I thought you . . . with Robbie . . .”
It took Sara longer than she wanted to admit to process the statement. “Oh.” She felt heat rush to her cheeks at the awkward response. “Sorry. I’m not judging or anything, just surprised.” Abby was bisexual—or something like that, though Sara still struggled to remember the labels she used—but she’d never heard anyone say it so casually. “I’m not. Bi, I mean. Not that there’s anything wrong with it,” she rushed, and her face was almost hot enough to catch fire. Thank goodness the bar was dark enough, maybe no one would notice. “I’m straight though.”
Laura stared at her for a second, then tilted her head back and laughed. Every guy within a twenty-foot radius turned to watch. Hell, Sara couldn’t blame ’em . . . Laura looked almost bewitching, mouth curled up and red hair glowing in the dim lights.
“Sorry.” Sara hid her face behind her bottle.
“Oh, no, babe, it’s okay. I wasn’t hitting on you. Just trying to get you to keep me company tonight, so no one would bother me.”
“Oh.” She paused, remembering what Laura had said before. “So, you’re off men completely, then? Like, you’re a lesbian now? Because of Robbie?”
Laura shook her head, sliding off her stool and stretching. “Nah, still bi.” She gave Sara a long once-over, then caught her eye and winked. “But I’m thinking I’ll be sticking to the ladies for a while.”
Sara wanted to protest, but Laura was tugging her off the seat and onto the floor, and she let the music sweep over her until she could ignore that tiny part inside of her that had perked up at that look from Laura and was suddenly craving more.
About the Seasons of Love Universe
New York is the city that never sleeps: where everything can change in the blink of an eye, and where anything is possible—especially romance. In the bitter cold of winter or the impossible humidity of mid-summer, your own happily ever after might be right around the corner.
The people of New York come from all walks of life, and the relationships are just as diverse. So whether you’re a waiter or an aspiring actor, a banker or a model, falling in love can happen quicker than the seasons change.
Check out Seasons of Love! http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/universe/seasons-love
About Elyse Springer
Elyse is an author and world-traveler, whose unique life experiences have helped to shape the stories that she wants to tell. She writes romances with LGBTQ+ characters and relationships, and believes that every person deserves a Happily Ever After. When she’s not staring futilely at her computer screen, El spends her time adding stamps to her passport, catching up on her terrifying TBR list, and learning to be a better adult.
She’s always happy to chat with other readers, and you can find her online at:
To celebrate the release of Heat Wave, one lucky winner will receive a $10 Amazon gift card! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on August 5, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.
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